Use School Honeymoon Period to Establish Home-School Connection

by: Dan Florell, Ph.D.

The excitement could be felt throughout classrooms as the school year was about to start. Students were excited to be back in school and see many of their friends for the first time since the previous school year. They also were a little nervous and curious as to what their new teachers and classes were going to be like. Their teachers were not immune to having a bit of nervousness regarding their new students and how their classes would run during the school year.

That bit of anxiety that comes with the unknown of a new school year often leads to an interesting phenomenon, the honeymoon period. Honeymoon periods occur in a variety of situations but most are associated with a person starting something new and the leeway that is provided to that person for a relatively short period of time.

At the beginning of the school year, both students and teachers are new to each other. This means most are on their best behavior early in school year and give each other the benefit of the doubt when problems do arise. The length of the honeymoon period can vary greatly but many last at least a couple of weeks.

By that time, students and teachers have gotten the time to know each other and become comfortable in their new classes. Once comfortable, students will begin to display their true personalities and teachers will become less tolerant of problematic behaviors. When this combination occurs, the honeymoon is over.

Even though honeymoon periods are brief, parents can take advantage of them. This is the perfect time for parents to reach out to teachers and start building good relationships. When parents reach out early in the school year, it sends a message to teachers that they are interested in seeing their children do well. It also tells teachers that if and when any problems arise, parents are likely to follow through in trying to get them addressed.

Reaching out to teachers during the honeymoon period is particularly important for parents whose children have had academic or behavioral problems in the past. While hope can spring eternal, odds are that children who have had difficulties in school in the past are likely to continue to have them. Being proactive and reaching out to teachers during the honeymoon period can set a whole different tone to a school year.

The honeymoon period is also a good time for parents to get their children to talk about what is going on at school. The excitement associated with the start of the school year can make children more willing to talk about their school day than later in the school year. This can help parents learn more about their children’s lives including who their friends are, what activities they are doing in class, and any problems that are occurring. When children see their parents are actually interested about their day, they are more likely to continue telling their parents what is happening.

As the school year enters its’ first couple of weeks, parents need to take advantage of the honeymoon period and start establishing good lines of communication with teachers and their children. This early effort can pay handsome dividends throughout the rest of the school year.

This article was published in the Richmond Register daily Friday on August 12, 2016

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