"Don't wait for parent-teacher conferences at mid-semester. Schedule time to meet the teacher at the beginning of the school year," said Smith, who encourages both parents to attend.
A meeting does not need to be long to be successful, but getting acquainted is important, said Smith, who offered these tips.
Ask about the teacher's philosophy on education. Also, find out how he or she views parents' roles.
Ask about school policies. Even if your child has attended this school in previous years, it is still helpful to always stay current.
Ask about the preferred methods of communication. Some teachers encourage parents to drop by, others prefer scheduled times or even e-mail communication.
"Parents should feel free to offer a brief overview of their child's strengths and weaknesses, but should consider it as background for a teacher, rather than a list of do's and don'ts," Smith said.
The educational process typically opens the door for a child to develop new interests and build new skills, he said.
Smith recommends nurturing a cordial relationship with a child's teacher during the school year. A child who views his parents and teachers as a team may be more motivated.
As a child grows older and more teachers are involved in his or her school day, parents' contact with the school will change. Remaining involved - and supportive of the educational process - is still a good idea, Smith said.
"Let your child - and the school - know you care," he said.
More information on building successful family relationships is available at county or district K-State Research and Extension offices and on Smith's Web site: www.ksu.edu/wwparent.begin.html.
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