The Best Questions to Ask at Your Next Parent-Teacher Conference

The Best Questions to Ask at Your Next Parent-Teacher Conference

The must-ask questions to make the most of your chat with your kiddo’s teachers!

By Heather Chaet

They spend more hours with your child than you do Monday through Friday. They see which group of classmates she sits with at lunch. They know she loves reading about cats and that she sometimes (often?) flubs the answer to “What is eight times six?”

Of course, “they” are your child’s teachers. For nine months out of the year, those amazing educators help, guide, and mentor your kiddo. They are your eyes and ears, your connection, your lifeline to everything your child is doing at school.

You wish you could chat with them every day, but you can’t. That’s why, when you have a chance to talk with them at your parent-teacher conference, you want to make the most of the all-too-brief minutes they allot you. Here, the top five questions you should ask the teachers at the next conference to get the most insight on how your child is doing in school.

1. “What would you say my child excels at?”
Whether it’s spelling or geography, geometry or chess, finding out what they believe are your child’s strengths is a great first question to ask, to set an upbeat tone from the start. Remember, they see your child in a different setting, and from a teacher perspective rather than a parent perspective, so this insight is uniquely valuable. Just think, you will be able to tap into and hone those strengths at home or over the summer!

2. “What does my child need to work on?”
Even if you have a straight-A student who loves school, there may be a few things that could use some extra attention. As the teachers go over what can be improved upon, ask them for tips and hints on how you can help your child as well. Also, take notes so that you can review their advice later or over the summer, and in case you want to follow up with the teachers before the end of the school year.

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3. “Does my child seem confident and have a good group of friends?”
We all know that school is much more than learning the ABCs and 123s. It’s essential to know how your child is doing emotionally from the morning bell until dismissal. Especially as she enters the tween and teen years, when you may not get as much information from her directly, the teachers are a great resource to be sure she’s maneuvering the social and emotional school landscape in a positive way.

4. “Is there anything else I should be aware of or keep an eye on?”
You typically get information from one source – your child – about how school is going. There may not be anything new the teachers will chat about with you, but asking them this open-ended question allows an opportunity to share other details on your child’s school life you may not be clued in on.

5. “What can I do at home to help my child?”
When it comes down to it, you and the teachers are on the same team with the same goal: helping your child succeed at school. From becoming more organized with her homework to increasing the number of minutes she reads each night, her teachers can give you some concrete suggestions of what to do at home that will enhance what they are working on in school. Partnering with them is the best way to boost your child’s education mojo.

What do you ask during your parent-teacher conferences?

Heather Chaet documents her mini parenting successes, epic mommy fails, and everything in between for a plethora (love that word!) of publications and websites such as CafeMom, New York Family, and AdWeek. While her online persona is found at, Heather lives in New York City with her film director husband and one insanely curious, cat-obsessed daughter.

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