Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Teach your child to be a code breaker.

What you can do

Ask whether your child has noticed any differences in the way different teachers expect students to enter their classrooms. For example, maybe one teacher wants students to go directly to their assigned seats and begin class right away. Another teacher might let students choose where to sit and may allow a bit of conversation before getting started.

Help your child “crack the code” for each teacher. It may be helpful for you to pretend being a student stepping from the hallway into the classroom. Describe how you’re looking at the expression on the teacher’s face and at what most of the other kids are doing.

What you can say

“OK, Jacob, I’m pretending I’m walking into Mrs. Green’s room. She’s not looking too happy. She’s frowning and she’s got her arms crossed as she watches a couple kids horse around. They’re having a great time, laughing, but she clearly doesn’t think they’re funny.”

“I look around the room and notice that nearly all of the other students have taken out their notebooks and stopped talking. The only kids who are still making noise are the ones who get in trouble a lot.”

“I don’t want to be one of those kids so I’m going to make sure I always walk quietly into Mrs. Green’s room and quickly get ready to start taking notes.”

Why this will help

Some children with learning or attention issues have trouble gauging the moods and expectations of the people around them. They may also have trouble remembering or learning from previous social experiences.

Practicing with your child can help. You may also want to encourage him to write down short notes about each teacher. These might include details such as “Mrs. Green likes quiet” or “Mr. Alvarez is OK with joking around a little.” It can help your child to quickly scan these notes just before walking into class.

79Found this helpful
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