TEAM UP WITH THE TEACHER
If school doesn't go smoothly for a child, it's human nature to blame the teacher. But accusations are sure to backfire, even if the teacher really is part of the problem. If you accuse him, you put him on the defensive, which is counterproductive. "Instead, say in a nonthreatening way that you're concerned for your child, and ask how you can work together to solve the problem," says Gootman. "Teachers feel positive when they see that a parent cares and is interested and concerned but not breathing down their necks or telling them how to teach." They also find it helpful if parents alert them to any information they have about how children are feeling at school. For instance, some kids may be stoic if someone hits or teases them, but cry about it when they get home. It helps to keep the teacher in the loop.
Also, give a heads-up about anything going on at home that may affect how your child is feeling -- not just biggies like illness in the family, but also more mundane issues like a sleepless night or a nightmare, says Olivi. That way, the teacher will be able to put the child's negative mood or behavior in context and can even help her through the rough patch. For instance, when Elisabeth was feeling blue because her dad was away on business, her teacher suggested she make a "Welcome Back, Daddy!" card, which turned her view of the situation in a happier direction.