How to build a healthy relationship with your child’s teacher

Relationship building in the days of technology is challenging. A lot of people opt to ‘slide into your DMs’ or text in place of face-to-face communication or even talking on the phone. While schools have multiple tools at their disposal for communicating with the school community, it cannot be denied meeting your child’s teacher at the start of each new year is important for relationship building.

Many parents admit to a bout of nervousness at the start of the school year. However, getting off on the right foot from the get-go not only helps you, but there are benefits for your kids. When parents and teachers work in partnership, respecting the unique contributions each makes and sharing their knowledge, children thrive. It can influence their academic, emotional and social wellbeing.


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How to build a healthy relationship with your child’s teacher

Reshaping traditional parent-teacher dynamics

Once upon a time, there was a very clear distinction between school and home life. Today, the shift has seen an increasing number of parents take an active interest in their child’s education. The difference is stark, according to two of Australia’s leading researchers on parent engagement in schools.

Griffith University’s Dr Linda Willis and Professor Beryl Exley have seen first-hand the incredible outcomes for students when schools and families show mutual respect for one another.

“Parent engagement is not about schools asking parents to supervise their child’s homework,” Dr Willis told Independent Schools Queensland in November 2021. “It’s schools thinking ‘how can we support parents to contribute in authentic ways and in real-time to what their child is learning at home and school?'”

Dr Willis says this approach encourages deeper conversations between kids and their parents. Those conversations tend to be more regular, more enjoyable and more fun.


How can you build a healthy relationship with your child’s teacher

Having a healthy, respectful relationship with your child’s teacher is not a new concept. However, few parents know how to go about developing those bonds, especially when your child’s teacher changes from year-to-year.

The best thing a parent can do to build that rapport is to make themselves known to their children’s teachers. We’ve all heard the old saying ‘first impressions count’, and it’s true! Building a bond with your child’s teacher from Day One forms the foundation for future communication and trust.

You can also strengthen the parent-teacher relationship by:

  • having regular conversations with your child, showing a genuine interest in what is being learnt at school
  • making an effort to find out something about your child’s teacher that is personally interesting
  • sending your child’s teacher a message when something they’ve done in class has had a positive impact at home
  • keeping your teacher abreast of things your child is curious about outside of school
  • accepting invitations from the teacher to learn more about what goes on in the classroom
  • making your use of skills (such as Maths, reading and writing etc.) visible to your child by talking about how you learnt them and how you are applying them.

It is also important that you have high, but realistic aspirations for your child.


Schools have a role to play in healthy relationship building

Schools play a part in fostering relationships with parents and caregivers too. Most schools spend a lot of time building high-quality school-family relationships. These activities are often tailored to the school’s unique context and community. Activities could include a welcome event at the start of the school year where parents, teachers and other representatives from the school community can chat in a non-formal way. Conversations at drop-off or pick-up are also ideal ways of building healthy relationships with your child’s teacher.

Research has also found that healthy relationships between parents and teachers are improved when parents are engaged early with opportunities to share their skills or experiences. Teachers are often mindful of how a specific unit of learning might be an opportunity to do this. Find out what your child is doing in-class and whether the teacher is interested in providing real-life examples from the parent cohort. Examples include inviting parents to share cultural experiences when doing a unit on study about society, asking for grandparents to talk about what life was like during a certain era when working through a unit of history they might have experience with, or inviting a parent with personal experience to talk to a class about a particular health challenge, such as diabetes, vision or hearing impairment, or allergies.


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How are you fostering a healthy relationship with your child’s teacher? What challenges are there in parent engagement are your child’s school?

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Servicing Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and beyond, Kids on the Coast is an online guide for parents with kids events, attractions & things to do with kids, schools and education, school holiday guides, health & wellbeing for families, parenting and lifestyle news located on Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast & Brisbane, QLD.

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By Angela Sutherland
After spending many years hustling stories on busy editorial desks around the world, Angela is now mum of two little ones and owner/editor at Kids on the Coast / Kids in the City. She is an atrocious cook and loves cutting shapes to 90s dance music. Angela is the editor of Kids on the Coast - a free family magazine whats on guide for Kids: things to do, school holiday fun and free activities for kids... Fun attractions, family food & travel, kids health & wellbeing, kids parties venues, parenting, pregnancy & babies, guide for parents. Servicing Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and beyond, Kids on the Coast is an online guide for parents with kids things to do with kids, schools and education and lifestyle news located on Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast & Brisbane, QLD.

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