Heathdale flower 20th June 2019

Connect with Your Child on Canvas

Finding it tough to get information out of your teenager about school? Don't worry, it's normal. To keep in touch, get Canvas.

Heathdale flower

“How was school?”


“What did you do?”

“Not much.”

It is not an unusual parent/child conversation in early adolescence. Now and then, something exciting happened at school and they can’t wait to unpack that event with us. But more often, details are hard to extract from a teenager at the end of a long school day. Those happy days of early primary when we received a blow-by-blow playback of the day’s adventures seem to be a distant memory.

Take heart if this is the case in your family – it’s completely age-appropriate. Early adolescents are at a critical time in their development of an independent identity. They are less motivated to share every moment; in fact, they are in the business of carving out some personal space and sense of ownership. It’s a normal sign of growing up!

But while the conversation doesn’t always flow freely, a sense of warm connection to their family is still critical for every young person. Invite conversation but try to resist the urge to hunt down every detail. Show support by being an active listener when your child does decide to talk. Make time to just be together – family dinners, trips out with the family, making a meal or working on a project together, some individual one-on-one time with each parent – and then allow space for your child to find their own expression in their own time.

What about when you just don’t know what’s going on? Or when things are obviously troubling your child but they aren’t saying much? There are times when we need to give conversation a nudge along, especially if there are reasons to be concerned. Reassurance that we are ready to listen, and able to be trusted, is an important first step. Reaching out for support from beyond the family if things are not improving, and your child is not able or willing to share what’s really going on, is also wise.

What about keeping track of learning when your child is short on words? Staying in touch with school work in Middle and Senior School at Heathdale is made easy with the help of a parent observer account for Canvas. If you haven’t yet signed up for your own Canvas account, our website has the all the instructions to make it happen. Logging in to your Canvas parent account will give you access to your child’s assignments, results and feedback comments. You can also add the app to your phone for a handy summary version of your child’s Canvas information. So even if they are not saying much right now, you’ll be able to see the gains they are making in their learning journey.

Connect to Canvas by visiting: www.heathdale.vic.edu.au/parent-centre/resources/