The most important thing is to show interest in their day and encourage them to talk about what has gone well and what has been more difficult. Make sure they have time in the day/week to complete any home learning activities, when you can be available to support them.
All children will have targets that they are working towards. Make sure that you know what these are and, if necessary, speak to the class teacher about how you can give extra support to help them achieve their targets.
When your child starts school there will be parents’ meetings to explain how you can help at home. and further meetings as the children move up to a new year group. Try to attend these if possible and ask questions if you are unsure about anything.
Often further information is given out via newsletters and posted on the school website.
My child’s behaviour in school is fine, but he’s a nightmare at home. What can I do?
Children behave badly for a reason, but often these reasons are not obvious to us. Think about whether they are doing it to get your attention and turn the situation around by rewarding them with your attention when they behave well and ignoring (within reason) undesired behaviour.
Parenting is not easy and you may find that a parenting course or parent support group focussing on behaviour would help you come up with strategies. We have a number of parenting programmes running in the area. Speak to the class teacher or SENCo to find out what is available.
If your child has an identified special need, such as ASD then different behaviours at school and home may not be that unexpected. Children can hold themselves in during their time at school in order to conform but are then stressed when they get home. Explain to the school what is happening; they may be able to help with more sensory breaks during the school day.
Will I have the opportunity to talk about what strategies work at home? (eg. for managing behaviour)
Yes. If your child has a specific special need then your expertise will be important to the school. For children with an existing EHC plan, you will have the opportunity to meet with the class teacher and/or SENCo before they start school. Otherwise, there will be opportunities to discuss these strategies at review meetings with the teacher and feed into the person centred planning process.
Where can I find out about activities outside school that will help my child?
Children spend a lot of time learning in school, so out of school activities need to be fun and focus, for example, on developing social relationships. There are lots of activities for children with additional needs via Activities Unlimited: https://www.activities-unlimited.co.uk/
How can I help prepare my child for SATs? – both in terms of long term preparation and during the actual testing period
The school will hold a meeting for parents explaining about SAT’s – go along to this and ask questions. They will explain whether your child will qualify for additional time or a reader for some of their papers.
The class teacher will be able to give advice on specific areas where you can help your child.
During the testing period a good night’s sleep and a healthy breakfast are the most important things. The school provides a ‘Breakfast Club’ option during SATs week.
Maths has changed since I was at school. How can I help?
Your child may just need encouragement; ask them if they can ‘teach’ you.
Schools will often offer sessions for parents to find out about methods for teaching maths. Try to go along and don’t feel worried about your own maths abilities – everyone is in the same boat! If you have a specific aspect of Maths that you are unsure about and your child needs help, then the class teacher will be able to help; either make an appointment or send in a note.
My child doesn’t want to read to me. What should I do?
First think about when you are trying to read with them – are they too tired? Try to have a regular routine and then stick to it. Take time to discuss the book first and take turns to read a page each. If it is a particular problem with the books being too easy/difficult or just not appealing to your child, then speak to the class teacher about alternatives. Your child will have a reading record which should make it easy to communicate with the teacher about any problems with reading. School won’t know you are having problems unless you tell them!
What should I do if my child is crying over homework?
Try to get to the bottom of the problem. Is it too difficult, too much, are they too tired? If they don’t have one, ask for a homework schedule so that you can help them plan what needs to be done when. Ask how much time the teacher expects to be spent on homework. Have a set time for doing homework and stick to it.
If your child is upset because they do not understand the homework, then please speak to the class teacher. Children are often good at hiding what they do not understand and the teacher will want to know if there is a problem.
Who do I talk to if my child doesn’t want to come to school?
It is important to address this issue straight away. If your child is faking illness or coming up with reasons not to go to school, then speak to the class teacher straight away. Sometimes it may be a simple short term issue that can be easily resolved. If not then the school can work with you to develop strategies to support you child and keep them in school.