Staying Involved in School
Most parents don’t have time to be fully involved in their child’s education, but it’s important to be consistent about communicating with your child and your child’s teacher to put together an accurate picture of your child’s academic experience. By talking with both, you can ensure that you’ll be able to support your child as effectively as possible.
Everyday Tips for Parents
- Do: Ask what your child thinks of her or his school—some have a strong attachment, while others feel uncomfortable or unattached. Ask your son or daughter which part of school is his or her favorite. (Don’t be surprised if your younger children answer “recess” or “lunch.”)
- Ask: How Was School? Read your child’s school newspaper or the community newspaper to keep up-to-date on what’s happening at school. Instead of asking your child “How was your day at school?” every day after he or she gets home, talk about some of the issues you’ve come across in the paper.
- Make Time to Connect: The lives of teens and preteens change with dizzying speed, so you’ll have to ask questions if you want to keep up. Make time to connect over a favorite meal, in the car, or on a walk so that the conversation can flow into what’s really going on.
- Ask a Teacher: If your child is reluctant to talk about school, try talking to her or his teacher; if there is a problem in the classroom, your child’s teacher can fill you in on the details.
[Related article: What to Do When Your Child Says, “I HATE School!”]
- Do: Ask what would make the school experience more enjoyable, and see if there’s anything you can do to help. The more your child enjoys going to school, the more engaged he or she will be.
[Related Article: Reach Out! Tips for Building a Strong, Positive Parent-Teacher Relationship]
5 Easy Ways to Encourage School Bonding:
1. Do: Encourage your children to participate in before- and after-school activities to maintain school involvement outside of the school day. These programs are not always well-publicized, so check with your school office to find out about opportunities.
2. Show Some Spirit! As kids start to become more aware of their school colors, consider investing in school T-shirts, sweatshirts, and pajamas (if you can afford it). Another option is to buy plain t-shirts in your school’s colors, or to get shoe laces in those colors from your local craft store.
3. Attend Events: School involvement isn’t limited to just students. Show your support of your child’s school by reading the school newspaper, attending concerts and sporting events, and encouraging your child to attend social events, such as prom and homecoming dances.
[Related article: 6 Tips for Supporting Kids When They Change Schools]
4. Celebrate! If your child enjoys school competitions, celebrate big events such as state championships, music festivals, speech tournaments or other less traditional forms of school involvement.
5. Stay Involved: Stay involved in your child’s education by participating with her in service projects (such as food or book drives), attending parent-teacher conferences, and volunteering in the school district.
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