Let’s be honest: most parents want to please teachers as much as their kids do. Who doesn’t want to be known as a cheerful, cooperative, helpful mom or dad?
If you’re worried, though, that your only option is to bust your budget on gifts, or chaperone every field trip—home baked cupcakes in tow--I’ve got good news. Sure, everyone likes a good bake sale or a beautifully written holiday card, but what teachers really wish for is much simpler than that. Here are five easy things you can do to make them happy, without breaking the bank or requiring that you clone yourself so that you can find enough hours in the day:
- Start the day smoothly. Many students, especially young ones, struggle with transitions. Hug your kid before you part ways for the day; share your pride and confidence. If a job takes you out of the house early, stick an encouraging note into your child’s lunchbox. Your loving messages equip your child for a multitude of challenges—in school and in life.
- Get to school on time. Teachers work hard to start the day promptly; lateness flusters kids and can jangle the class. Everyone wins when children are settled and ready to work.
- Have your kid eat some breakfast, and provide a healthy lunch. Research and practical experience both show that healthy food helps kids focus and do their best work. A hungry kid is usually a miserable one—and no fun for teachers either.
- Support good homework habits. Of course: it’s your child’s homework, not yours. But you can provide crucial support when you show that you know that homework is important, and you care about it too. Set a specific time of the day for homework. This is also a good time to handle school papers, like field trip forms!
- Plan time to reconnect and rest at the end of the day. Try to carve out a predictable calm time of at least 15-20 minutes to listen to your child talk about the day. You may all be racing around the house the rest of the time, but these moments reassure your child that you’re there to help. At day’s end, be firm about lights out. Help your child get at least 8-10 solid hours of sleep.
Teachers understand, of course, that steps like these aren’t always easy for busy parents. Everyone has “those days”. But the next time you deliver your child to school well fed, well rested, and on time, know this: behind the scenes, there’s a teacher giving you an A+, and a big thank you too.