One of the best ways to help your children succeed in school is to have good communication with both them and their teachers. Obviously, the more you know about what your children are doing at school, the easier it will be for you to help them to do their best. In addition, you will be able to praise them for their very real accomplishments, which makes for a win-win situation.

Every year at this time we make suggestions for New Year's resolutions that can help parents empower their children to be even more successful at school. Here are some recommendations that will help you to foster communication with your children and their teachers.

Resolutions to improve communication with your children:

  • Resolve to turn off the television and all other electronic devices as much as possible when you are with your children. This will help everyone focus on what is being said. This is especially important at meal time.

  • Resolve to look at your children when you are talking to them. The secret of good communication lies in eye contact between both speaker and listener.

  • Resolve to wait until your children have finished speaking before chiming in with what you have to say.

  • Resolve to ask open-ended questions to your children. Questions that can be answered with a simple "yes" or "no" decidedly limit communication.

  • Resolve to set up a message board to enable everyone to learn what other members of the family are doing. Good communication is not just verbal communication, but also written communication.

  • Resolve to avoid over-correcting your child. A barrage of constant correction turns children away from listening to what their parents have to say.

  • Resolve to praise your children for their good work at school. Compliments enhance communication.

  • Resolve to be a good model in speaking to your children. Using correct grammar and words will enhance their communication skills.

Resolutions to improve communications with your children's teachers:

  • Resolve to be positive and courteous. Good manners always open up the lines of communication.

  • Resolve to attend all parent/teacher conferences. This is your best opportunity to learn what your children are doing in school.

  • Resolve to be respectful of a teacher's time. The best communication occurs when it is convenient for the teacher to talk to you.

  • Resolve to keep the lines of communication open all year. Read all notes and emails that come from teachers and check the teachers' and school's websites frequently.

  • Resolve to reply as soon as possible to all teachers' notes and emails. This keeps communication going back and forth in a timely manner.

  • Resolve to limit your notes and emails to teachers to serious concerns. Overwhelming the teachers with trivial concerns can close the door to a teacher communicating with you.

  • Resolve to communicate with teachers to keep them informed of significant changes in your children's lives. It helps teachers to better understand your children's behavior.

  • Resolve to meet your children's teachers. Face-to-face meetings contribute to better communication.