Monday, September 28, 2009

Parent Teacher Conferences

It’s hard to believe that so much of the first quarter of this new school year is already behind us. And that means Parent Teacher Conferences are just around the corner. These conferences can sometimes be so daunting. How do you make this easier?

Today, Amy Bevins, Assistant Editor of Washington FAMILY Magazine and an educator, shared Parent Teacher Conference suggestions during the Moms Like Me segment on WUSA9.

Amy suggests:

First, look at the goal of the conference. It’s to open communication with the teacher. You’re not going to be able to address in-depth issues in 15 minutes. It is more of a springboard to get communication rolling. In fact, in our family, we don’t wait until the end of the quarter to meet with our kids’ teachers. We always schedule a conference within the first few weeks of school so that we’ve already interfaced with the teacher from the get-go.

Before the conference:
Take some time to think through anything you want to share with the teacher or questions you may have and jot them down. Conferences go quickly and this way you won’t forget something important, especially if there are concerns or large issues you need to discuss. Also, ask your child if there is anything he wants you to talk about. Sometimes children have questions that are hard for them to bring directly to the teacher.

When you’re actually in the room meeting with the teacher:
Be on time and end on time. It is so tempting to keep talking, but often teachers have conferences scheduled back-to-back. Again, this meeting is hopefully the start of an on-going conversation. If you can’t cover everything, introduce your main points and set up another meeting for a later date.

You will have questions and the teacher will have information to share. Take turns being a good listener and a concise speaker, which can be very hard when you are talking about your child.

During the meeting, write down action items, decisions or questions to discuss further. At the end of the meeting, review those items so that you and the teacher are both working on the same goals.

After the conference:
If you have anything to put into action or follow up on, get started right away. A post conference email is always a good idea, both to thank the teacher for her time and to clarify goals, plans and questions.

Most importantly, keep in touch with the teacher throughout the year. You are not restricted to the one or two conferences a year. Your child’s education should be a partnership between you and the teacher. Research shows that children whose parents are involved in their education are more successful at school. So ask what you can do at home and be involved in your child’s school.

Here are some lists that might help.

Things to remember:
What is the Goal of the Conference?
Communication is Key.
Consider Scheduling Early in the Year

Prepare for Conference
Think through questions.
Write them down.
Ask your child for questions.

Day of Conference Tips
Be on time.
Introduce your main points.
If needed, set up another.
Be a good listener.
Take notes.
Review notes at the end.

After the conference?
Take action.
A post conference email.
Keep in touch with the teacher.
Ask what you can do at home.
Be involved in your child’s school.

For more articles and resources about “Parent Teacher Conferences,” visit the Washington FAMILY Magazine web site -

Do you have some Parent-Teacher Conference tips that you use? Please let us know and we can share with other parents.

Happy Parenting,

Article Links -- to some interesting articles

Getting Ready for the New School Year

Vision and Reading Skills

Parental Involvement

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Are you worried about your children catching the H1N1 flu?

Are you worried about your children catching the H1N1 flu? We are going to be talking about how to help our kids not catch the flu on WUSA9 on Monday morning. It is something to be concerned about.

Now that kids are back in school, parents are understandably leery about recent serious health concerns. Recently the CDC reported 436 deaths and 6,506 hospitalizations nationwide associated with H1N1 flu. No one knows what this school year has in store, so what must parents do to make sure their child stays safe from the H1N1 Flu?

What can parents do to protect their children?

First it is important to note that based on its wide spread, the World Health Organization has declared the 2009 outbreak of the new H1N1 flu a global pandemic. And the best approach we can take with our children is to help them avoid infection. If you or your children develop symptoms of the H1N1 or any flu, seek prompt medical attention to give yourself the best chance of antiviral drugs being effective.
H1N1 flu symptoms in humans are similar to those of infection with other flu strains and they include:
· Fever
· Cough
· Sore throat
· Body aches
· Headache
· Chills
· Fatigue
· Diarrhea
· Vomiting
And the CDC notes that H1N1 flu symptoms develop three to five days after you're exposed to the virus and continue for about eight days. You are contagious starting one day before you get sick and continuing until you've recovered. This means that it is imperative for parents to keep children home and away from others as soon as they first become ill.
What are some preventative tips for parents.

The best way that parents can protect their children from this outbreak is with prevention. And the best prevention with any infection is to wash hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds (parents should tell children to wash long enough to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice). Parents should teach kids to wash their hands throughout the day. And parents can keep anti-bacterial pumps accessible. Explain what the pumps are and when it's appropriate to use them.

Also instruct children to cough and sneeze into a tissue. (If a tissue is used, throw the tissue away immediately). Remind children not to touch their eyes, nose and mouth with their hands. Germs are spread when a child touches something that is contaminated and then touches her or his eyes, nose or mouth. Plus remind children that sharing food and drink will also spread germs.
Additionally stay at least six feet away from people who are sick. And stay home from school if sick, and stay away from sick people until they are better.
The CDC’s website has plenty of additional information for parents and caregivers that are concerned about this newest health threat. Just follow the link on

Flu Symptoms
· Fever
· Cough
· Sore throat
· Body aches
· Headache
· Chills
· Fatigue
· Diarrhea

Tips for Kids to Prevent the Flu
· Wash hands for 20 seconds
· (Teach kids to sing “Happy Birthday” twice when washing hands)
· Use anti-bacterial gels
· Contain your cough or sneeze
· Throw the tissue in the trash
· Do not share food or drink
· Stay 6 feet away
· Stay home when sick

And a quick reminder that our next Moms MEET UP will be in Silver Spring at Color Me Mine on this Wednesday, September 16, at 11 AM. You find details on inside the Moms Do Lunch Group. Hope to see you there.