Key Questions to Ask at Your Child’s School

The start of the new school year is fast approaching. The US Department of Education has created I Have a Question…What Parents and Caregivers Can Ask and Do to Help Children Thrive at School: A Parent Checklistto help you fulfill an important part of your child’s education—engaging with your child’s school in a way that truly matters.

The booklet was created with help from National PTA, America Achieves, the National Council of La Raza, and the United Negro College Fund. In it, you’ll find key questions to ask at your child’s school, including:

  • How will you keep me informed about how my child is doing on a regular basis?
  • How can we work together if my child falls behind?
  • What programs are in place to ensure that the school is a safe, nurturing, and positive environment?
  • How much time is there for recess or exercise?
  • How much time do teachers get to collaborate with one another?
  • How does the school make sure that all students are treated fairly?

The booklet also provides information on what to do beyond asking questions and tips from teachers to support your child’s success. The booklet concludes with resources from National PTA and other organizations, as well as specific information on bullying, finding additional academic support, children with delays or disabilities, financial aid for college, and homeless children. Download the PDF today.

Learning to Say No

Saying no ought to be pretty easy. As parents, we tell our kids no all the time. But as PTA volunteers, chances are you have trouble saying no when someone asks you to do something. At a PTA training, the trainer asked the group what was the one characteristic that linked everyone at the training. The first answer was, “An inability to say ‘no’ when asked.” There are a lot of different reasons why we don’t say no—we don’t want to let down the kids or the principal, one of our friends from PTA is asking, or we want to be seen as a team player.

Edutopiarecently published an article on getting comfortable with saying no. While aimed at teachers, the article also applies directly to PTA volunteers as well. Learning to say no when someone asks you to take on another volunteer position is important. If your heart isn’t in the task or your skill set doesn’t align well with what the job needs, saying yes can lead to a lot of stress and frustration for you or an event that reflects poorly on the PTA.

The article suggests asking yourself a few questions before you say no.

  • Why are you saying no?
  • When you say no, are you offering a solution?
  • What do you want?

We often avoid saying no because it feels awkward after we do or because it sounds too final and absolute. The article also suggests three ways to say no.

  • May I have time to reflect?
  • I’ll need a day to think this through.
  • I believe in risk taking, but I’ll need to calculate this one.

All three of these responses provide you with the time to think through your answer and to do what’s best for both you and your PTA. Read the full article for further information on these questions to ask yourself and ways to say no.

 

10 School Planning Tips for a Child with Food Allergies

If your child has food allergies, it is important to form a partnership with your child’s school to support them. Kids with Food Allergies (KFA), a division of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, has ten tips to help parents prepare for the school year with their child with food allergies.

  1. Communicate with the school.
  2. Visit your child’s doctor before school starts to get needed forms and supplies.
  3. Meet with the school nurse or school representative before school starts about policies and procedures.
  4. Meet with the school/district food services director to learn about meals, policies, and needed forms.
  5. Turn in all completed and signed forms and prescriptions before the first day of school.
  6. Make an appointment to meet with your child’s teacher to discuss classroom management of food allergies.
  7. Teach and encourage your child to build age-appropriate skills to manage food allergies.
  8. Make sure your child has other items they may need to store at school.
  9. Work together to form a partnership with your child’s school
  10. VisitKFA’s School Planning Zonefor additional information on managing food allergies at school.

Read the full article for additional informationon the tips above to ensure your child has a safe and successful year at school. The article also has a free printable and sharable PDF guide with these ten tips.

A Parent’s Guide to Dealing with Fortnite

If you have a video gamer in your house, chances are you’ve heard of Fortnite, the game that is dominating the gaming world with its recent Season 5 release and even showing up in major league baseball outfield celebrations. Even when they’re not playing it, kids are often talking about it with their friends, watching YouTube videos of the game, or watching live streams of the game on Twitch. If you’ve got a Fortnite fanatic in your house and aren’t sure what it’s all about, the Child Mind Institute has a Parent’s Guide to Dealing with Fortnite to help you out.

The article covers several aspects of Fortnite, including:

  • What the game is
  • Why the game is so compelling to players
  • The social draw of Fortnite
  • Determining how much is too much
  • Fortnite and behavior issues
  • Enforcing limits

Check out the full article to help you have a productive conversation with the Fortnite player in your house about how to play the game responsibly.

Graphic © 2018 by BagoGames under Creative Commons license.