When I was growing up back in the ‘90s, my mother worked as a teacher in the public school system and I would always listen to the stories she regaled her family with after work or during the weekend.
Most teachers would never admit this to parents unless absolutely pushed to do so, but there are some things that they do—especially moms—that drive them absolutely up a wall and make them want to tear their hair out or scream in frustration.
My mother had plenty of stories about moms that would walk into parent-teacher conferences and insist that their child, who was acting up in class and disrupting everyone else, was a perfect little angel and that all these stories were just lies.
Then, there were mothers that totally slacked off on keeping an eye on their child’s grades and they were surprised and dismayed to find out that their little one was failing their classes.
It can be difficult for mothers to put aside their pride and realize that they need to do better in terms of being more proactive, but the following list will help moms learn what not to do in order to help their child excel at school.
20 If You Can, Get More Involved With The PTA
Scary Mommy urges moms to become more active with their child’s school because it’s a great way to get to know the school’s employees and show their little one that you are interested in their school life.
Whether it is joining the Parent-Teacher Association at your child’s school, attending open houses, or making an effort to show up at “Meet The Teacher” nights, you’ll be able to build a rapport with the school’s employees and show your kiddo that their teachers and their parents are on the same team and rooting for them.
19 Email Teachers Instead Of Calling Or Texting For Updates
My mother will fully admit that one of the reasons why she was so happy to retire from being a teacher is due to the constant demands from the parents of her students.
They would be constantly texting, calling or emailing her at all hours of the night and seemingly indifferent to the fact that she had a life and family of her own.
Grown And Flown reminds moms that it is important to remember that school employees are not at your beck and call. Don’t text your child’s teacher when it’s really late on a weeknight and demand an answer ASAP. Instead, shoot them an email and give them a couple of days to do what they need to do; they’ll get back to you as soon as they can—I promise!
18 Cook Your Child Breakfast Before They Head To School
Kids Health writes that it is very important for moms, especially moms with teenaged children, to make sure that their child does not skip eating breakfast in the mornings.
In general, scientists have discovered that children that take the time out to eat a nutritious breakfast (unlike the Cocoa Puffs I wolfed down as a kid) have more energy, improved concentration and generally have a better performance as a student versus their peers that either eat something unhealthy before they go to school or skip the first meal of the day entirely.
17 Teach Your Child Top-Notch Organizational Skills
I will fully admit that I wasn’t very organized when I was in elementary school and the newsletters my teachers had me bring home to my parents were often stuffed into the back of my folder or crumpled up haphazardly as I dashed out the door. It wasn’t until I hit high school and college that I learned to keep important school documents nice and organized in my folder.
Kids Health recommends teaching your child good organizational skills from a young age, such as how to set up a calendar, writing down a daily to-do list, and keeping their folders organized.
It will save you, your child, and your child’s teacher a whole heck of a lot of time and stress.
16 Please Stop Demanding A Conference With The Teacher
Scary Mommy points out that school workers (teachers included) desperately wish that moms wouldn’t instantly demand a conference the minute their child comes home with some sort of outlandish claim.
It can be a hard pill for some moms to swallow, but children do lie.
That’s why it is important to take a deep breath the minute a child comes home saying that a friend gave them an impromptu haircut or someone stole their text book at school. It’s more likely that the kiddo cut their hair themselves or forgot the textbook because they were being absent-minded. It’s far better to teach children that it’s okay to make mistakes and mess up than it is to teach them that being demanding is a good thing to do.
15 Don't Push Your Child So Hard In Elementary School
Scary Mommy reassures mothers that there is absolutely no need to breathe down a child’s neck from the time they are in elementary school and put a ton of pressure on them to get good grades.
After all, colleges don’t give a hoot about what potential applicants did in elementary school. The only thing that they really care about are their grades in high school (and even that is flexible), SAT scores, and the essays that they submitted that are often part of the application process.
14 Ask Your Children If They Need Help Studying
It always baffled my mother when she was a teacher and heard from one of her students that their parents never bothered to make sure that they were studying or offer to help them study for a test. My parents, particularly my mother, always sat by my side from the time I was a little girl and made sure that I studied for tests or checked in to make sure that I understood the homework material.
Kids Health points out that it is important that moms keep an eye on their child’s study habits to make sure that their grades don’t slip, which could indicate a problem.
Make sure to set aside some time to help your child study for a test and help them review material to check that they understand the lessons.
13 Teach Your Teenager Good Cellphone Etiquette
Grown And Flown urges moms of teenagers to instill good cell phone etiquette in their children from the time that they are young so that their teachers don’t have to waste precious time by constantly asking their students to put their phones away.
Grown And Flown also adds that it is also rude for parents to text their children during school time.
If it’s a real emergency, it’s better to call the school directly and ask to speak with your child rather than interrupt a teacher’s lesson.
12 Check To Make Sure Your Child's Getting Enough Sleep
I will fully admit that when I was a teenager, I was often sleep-deprived when I went to high school because I was naturally a night owl at that age and I would often stay up late either listening to music or reading a good book. Needless to say, I often struggled to stay awake in classes and started drinking coffee in my junior year of high school.
Grown And Flown notes that is imperative that moms teach their children good sleep habits from the time that they are young.
Then they should make sure that their teenagers are getting enough sleep so that they’re not dozing through classes like I was back in the day.
11 Stop Talking Negatively About Teachers In Front Of The Kiddos
Ideally, your child should have respect for his or her teachers because they are the ones that are helping to mold their minds and open their eyes to new ways of thinking.
Scary Mommy urges mom to stop talking negatively about their child’s teachers when their little ones are present—especially if they are pretty young. The negative talk will always get back to the teachers since kids tend to repeat everything their parents say within earshot and it’s not cool to imbue them with disrespect for their teachers—especially since it makes their job 10 times harder.
10 Bring Cookies Instead Of Cupcakes To Celebrate Your Little One's Birthday
Scary Mommy writes that instead of sending your child to school on his or her birthday with an unsliced cake and no utensils, it’s far better to pack the utensils in the bag with them or go a non-traditional route, such as fruit snacks, cookies or cupcakes because it is easier to clean up.
The schools’ employees love celebrating your little one’s birthday with them, but an unsliced cake usually causes a huge mess that the janitor is forced to work harder to clean.
Either slice the cake the night before to make things less messy or bring a less-messy snack like cookies for your child’s birthday.
9 Your Child Is Not To Be Used In Competition
Scary Mommy bluntly points out that it is so not cool to use your child as a way to compete with other parents, whether they be your relatives, your neighbors, or the mothers and fathers of your child’s classmates.
My mother is a retired teacher and has told me some hair-raising horror stories of kids as young as second or third grade being upset that they didn’t make it into “the gifted and talented” program. It always baffled her that other moms couldn’t realize that every child is good at something and it’s better to lay off the competitive streak and let them just be kids.
8 Acting Like A Helicopter Is So Not Cool
Scary Mommy adds that pretty much everyone who works at a school desperately wishes that moms would hold off on acting like a helicopter and constantly hovering over their child.
It’s common to poke fun at helicopter parents in television and movies, but in real life, it’s no laughing matter.
Smothering your child to the point that they are afraid to roughhouse or play in the dirt because they’ll ruin their nice clothes is no way to teach them important life skills.
7 Thoroughly Read Through School Newsletters And Announcements
It can be tempting for parents to either glance over newsletters that the schools send home with their children or ignore them entirely, but that’s not the best way to go about things.
Education World notes that it is very important for moms to make sure that they read every single communication that is sent home with their child. Whether it’s a note about the homework policy at the beginning of the year or a weekly newsletter, it’s best for both moms and their child if they stay up to date with what’s going on in the classroom.
6 Homework And Test Scores Are Not The Be-All, End-All
Back when I was a kid, I remember seeing some of my peers practically getting very nervous almost every single month because their parents were constantly breathing down their necks about getting straight As on tests or making sure they got nothing less than 100 percent on the daily homework assignment.
Pop Sugar warns moms that in the end, test scores and homework don’t mean much. Neither college admissions officers or future employers give a fig about whether or not an applicant got a perfect score on their math test.
So please stop stressing them out by putting an immense amount of pressure to get excellent grades.
5 Make Sure Your Children Establish A Routine For Getting Ready
Let’s face it, no mother likes it when she has to run around like a chicken without a head in the mornings, trying to make sure that her children have everything that they need for school packed in their backpacks and ready to go in 10 minutes or less.
PopSugar notes that it is important to be a good role model for your child and emulate good organization skills for your child to follow.
You can keep your child’s teacher’s stress levels down by making sure your middle schooler has their backpacks packed the night before, checking to make sure that they finished and have every piece of homework ready to go, and that they brought their lunchbox with them.
4 Check In With Your Kid's Grades Before The Semester Is Finished
When my mother worked as a teacher, she would always express frustration to my aunt (who was also a teacher) on the weekends about how her student was obviously struggling since the beginning of the year, but their mother or father didn’t bother to check in until almost May.
PopSugar points out that while it is good to give children—especially if they are middle schoolers—some degree of autonomy, you also want to make sure that you keep up-to-date on their grades so you can identify any potential learning difficulties and meet with the school employees to figure out a game plan as to how to help your kiddo.
3 It's Rude To Talk To An Administrator Before You Chat With The Teacher
Scary Mommy urges mothers to not make the incredible faux pas of going over your child’s teacher’s head and speaking directly to an administrator the minute that you disagree with them on something—especially if it’s something ridiculous, such as demanding that they give your child extra time to finish writing the book report that is due tomorrow.
It is far better to shoot your child’s teacher and email and politely ask if there’s a time where the two of you can chat and hash out whatever you’re taking an issue over.
Just don’t expect preferential treatment or for them to bend the rules!
2 Learn To Embrace New Ways Of Teaching
It always irritated my mother when she had to deal with self-important parents that walked into parent-teacher conferences and started trashing her methods of teaching because they were teachers 20 years ago, so of course she’s doing things wrong!
PopSugar reminds moms that even if you don’t entirely agree with someone’s method of teaching, education is a field that is constantly changing and being updated. It’s perfectly okay for teachers nowadays to embrace new methods of learning; just trust that your child’s teacher has studied hard, received the appropriate licenses and trained hard in order to be a good educator.
1 Get Informed About Important Educational Issues In Your Area
I can’t tell you how many times I heard my mother and my aunt vent on the phone to one another when I was a kid about how uninformed parents were during their times as teachers about important educational issues and how they would sometimes vote against their own child’s best interests.
Grown And Flown points out that moms really need to inform themselves (and stay informed) about important educational issues. Teachers have to struggle against certain policies in order to provide your child with the best possible learning environment; please help them achieve that goal by staying informed, voting and raising awareness about the issues.