Now that kids are back in school and over their initial nerves, other issues may start to arise. In our house, it’s adjusting to a new teacher. Over the school year, kids become very bonded to their teachers or get used to a certain way of doing things. Taking comfort in routine and expectations is important for a child.

We are lucky that my daughter’s teachers have been remarkable, year after year. As confident as we are, however, she has to learn this for herself. Other families aren’t as lucky and have to adjust to teachers who aren’t a great match for their children.

How do you help kids get comfortable with their new teacher?

  • Ask your child what’s new about their classroom this year.
  • Help your child list good things about changes (for example, making them feel special to be a “big kid” if they have new responsibilities).
  • Encourage your child to talk to his teacher to begin to get to know him together.
  • If you have younger children, have them draw a picture for the teacher and help them write down a few things about their selves they’d like his new teacher to know.
  • Instead of minimizing or dismissing your child’s concern (“Oh, don’t worry about it!”), ask, “do you want to talk about it?” Listen to what she has to say.

If you have concerns about a teacher or a match between a new teacher and your child’s needs, you can still do the above things with your child to help them get comfortable. However, you can also be an advocate for your child:

  • Make an appointment with the teacher and give her information about your child you think might be helpful while trying to respect her individual teaching style.
  • You can try to increase communication by asking to implement “school-home notes” where the teacher can rate a few areas of concern each day (for example, child stayed in seat, child paid attention, child did work independently). You can then reward good behavior at school to help your child succeed.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eleanor Mackey, PhD, is a child psychologist and works primarily with the Obesity Institute and Children’s Research Institute. Dr. Mackey is also a mother of two girls.

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