University of Illinois Extension

Working With Your Grandchild's Teacher

Amy Griswold, Family Life Educator

When your grandchild starts school, make sure teachers are aware of your situation. Children who are being raised by grandparents may feel like they don't fit in when classroom activities focus on traditional family households. By keeping the teacher informed of your home situation, she may be able to adapt classroom activities - like changing "making Mother's Day cards" to "making cards for someone special."

Get to know your grandchild's teachers from the start. If possible, visit with teachers, counselors and other school staff before you enroll your grandchild in school. Inform them that you are raising your grandchild and let them know about special needs or situations that they should be aware of. Let teachers know that you want to be informed of your grandchild's progress in school and you want to be involved.

Make sure the teacher knows that you are available for calls or meetings concerning your grandchild. Attend school open houses and special programs.

This will help the teachers become familiar with you and see that you are really concerned for the child's progress. Try to attend all parent-teacher conferences. When possible, schedule in-person meetings to talk about the child's progress. And if a face-to-face meeting isn't possible, arrange for a telephone conference.

If your grandchild has learning disabilities or behavioral problems, keep the teacher informed of the situation. Often, teachers are more understanding if they know there is an explanation behind a child's behavior. For example, if you know your grandchild is usually upset when returning from a visit to a parent, let the teacher know when those visits occur.