The winter doldrums can have kids, parents, and teachers all scanning the horizon for the next spot of relaxation. For most, that means raising spirits as spring break approaches! But for many, this mid-semester excitement goes hand-in-hand with an uncomfortable and anxiety-producing reality: the oft-dreaded parent-teacher conferences. At best, these conferences can still be rote and tedious. At worst, they can be an extraordinarily harsh wake-up call for parents and children who may not be communicating as well as they could. So how can you prepare to make sure that parent-teacher conferences in smiles and handshakes, not tears and awkward car rides home?

Be supportive through surprises

Conferences are a bit like dentist appointments: not much fun, occasionally painful, but necessary to identify and correct issues before they blossom into larger problems. Before heading out the door, it’s best to sit down with your child and explain why these conferences exist in the first place, and reassure them that the end goal is to help them succeed. Remind them that if they’re having any issues, this will be the chance to make plans and take healthy steps to correct them. Give your child the chance to open up to you about anything they may not have shared, so that you minimize any awkward surprises during the conference itself. And of course, remind yourself that all this advice applies no matter where on the academic spectrum your child falls. For a struggling child, a B can be cause for celebration, while for a straight-A student, that same grade can be the cause of immense anxiety. Before going in, take a moment to reflect on your expectations for your child, your child’s expectations for themselves, and what you can do if those expectations aren’t met or exceeded. The less likely you are to be broadsided by a surprising revelation, the smoother the conference will go.

No shock; no stress

The more you, your child, and their teacher communicate about your child’s academic performance, the fewer surprises you’ll have when you finally walk into the school for that conference. The smartest schools will put systems in place to make sure that parents are never kept out of the loop about their child’s performance, and the smartest parents take advantage of these systems to stay totally up to date. With new apps like PreciouStatus, parent-teacher conferences as we know them may even be rendered obsolete! Offering mobile daily sheets, updates on your child’s activities, grades, and even direct communication from teachers and administrators, it’s never been easier to keep track of your child’s academic life on a daily basis, resulting in fewer nasty surprises when you finally go in for that mid-semester conference.

If your school doesn’t offer the tools to keep you well-connected, suggest PreciouStatus as an app to increase parental engagement, and have them email us at sales@precioustatus.com or call at (888) 959-8982 today to learn more about the #1 app for connecting parents and teachers. For more information, please visit www.precioustatus.com.