Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Ask in advance.

What you can do

To see if an activity will be a good fit for your child, meet with the coach, extracurricular leader or other instructor ahead of time so you can understand what your child will have to do during an activity. Have this conversation when your child isn’t around so you can talk about her strengths and needs.

Ask about ways your child could be helpful to the group. Find out if there’s a specific skill she could target rather than trying to get better at all aspects of the activity all at once. But be careful not to say too much. Most coaches and activity leaders are volunteers who may feel not qualified to manage children with “too many” needs.

What you can say

“Hi, Mrs. Jones. I’m Sofia’s mom. She’s really excited about joining the drama club. She thinks she wants to be an actress some day. She often practices lines and reenacts stories at home and seems to have a flair for the dramatic! I wanted to mention that she does have some reading problems and occasionally has difficulty recalling information, which she finds frustrating.”

“Will there be lots to read and remember exactly as it’s written? Or is there some improvising that happens? She’s pretty quick on her feet and is really a great kid. But we want to be sure that she and the drama club are a good match.”

Why this will help

For children who struggle in school, matching them to sports or activities that fit their skill set and ability is crucial so they don’t fail at things that are supposed to be fun.

Also, by knowing ahead of time what will be expected of your child, you can prepare her for the activity as well as alert the instructor about areas where your child might need help.

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