Navigating those parent teacher conferences for our sons in the lower grades can be really stressful if there are behavior issues to discuss. We ran across these helpful tips for a successful parent teacher conference for parents of younger children with behavior issues from “What Did My Son Do Now?”, an article in Early Childhood News, and want to pass them along. The article, found here, suggests that successful parent teacher conferences require both the teacher and the parent to work as partners and be well prepared and skilled at communicating and solving issues, especially when there are behavioral issues to address.

Here are the tips, annotated by GCP in italics:

1. Bring the other parent or another relative with you for support, feedback, and strength. Make sure he or she knows to stay calm cool and collected during the conference.

2. Ask the teacher to describe your child’s best qualities before she describes the problems.

3. State your own concerns about your child; they might be different from the teacher’s concerns. Let the teacher know how you handle any non cooperative behavior at home.

4. Ask the teacher to be specific about your child’s problems and to limit your discussion to the three most important problems. This avoids a lot of vague and petty complaining.

5. Ask what strategies the teachers use to set limits or help your child negotiate with other children.It is highly likely that they have encountered some of these issues before and they should have a plan to deal with them.

6. If the teacher asks you to change your parenting strategies at home, be open-minded and cooperative, but also ask how it will actually improve your child’s behavior. Take notes and agree to consider the suggestions.

7. If needed, ask the teacher for a referral for medical, psychological, or cognitive evaluation.

8. Thank the teacher for her concern and the extra time and effort she has contributed to have this meeting with you.(Teachers need your support!)Plan a followup conversation before you end the conference.

Any other tips? Please share them with us.