How to Help Your Kids Bond with Their Schools

School’s a weird thing. I’m not sure it works.
—Johnny Depp

Parents play a big role in making sure their child’s school is both caring and challenging. These two ‘C’s’ make school safe and exciting for kids . . . and a place where they want to go.

Here are tips from the folks at ParentFurther that will help your child and you bond with teachers, classmates, and the wider school community and ensure that “school is cool.”

Tips for . . .

  • parents with children ages birth to 5
    • Help children make friends with their preschool or kindergarten classmates. Let your child invite a special friend over for a play date or dinner.
    • Make time to volunteer at your child’s school so you can watch the interactions of children and adults and form a good personal relationship with teachers and aides. It makes it easier to offer suggestions or ask questions about activities or policies at a later date.
    • Learn what your child likes and dislikes about school. Ask specific questions about music, gym, art, outside play, and lunch. Don’t be alarmed if your child likes lunch or recess best, and also try to figure out if you can make suggestions to the staff that will help improve your child’s experience.
    • parents with children ages 6 to 9
    • If you are able, purchase school t-shirts, caps, sweatshirts, or other school clothing that’s for sale. Wearing these items helps children show pride in their school.
    • This is the age when children find their “sparks” . . . the activities and subjects that they are passionate about (trucks, books about baby animals, dinosaurs, and so on). Find as many ways as possible to keep that flame burning . . . until the next “spark” ignites!
    • Stay on top of what’s happening at your child’s school. Read newsletters, yearbooks, and other information that your child brings home. Ask questions about what you read. Submit photos or story ideas if possible.
    • parents with children ages 10 to 15
    • Participate with your child in service projects, such as food drives, conducted by the school. Invite one of your child’s friends to join you.
    • “Sparks” at this age are even more important than when your kids were younger. They begin to define who your child is as a person. Help find more information, coaches, mentors, and family field trips that reinforce children’s passions.
    • Show that you care about your child’s school. Join a parent-teacher organization, attend conferences and special events, and volunteer in any way you can.
    • Remember that kids need several caring adults in their lives. Encourage your child to help you identify at least one adult at school who might be your family’s “ally” as your child moves through high school. Middle and high schools are often so big that they feel intimidating to parents. Having a contact person who knows the system can be a great help.
    • parents with children ages 16 to 18
    • By now, your child may be investing lots of time and energy in her “sparks.” Make time to attend your teen’s games, shows, rehearsals, concerts, and other school events. Include your child’s mentors and other caring adults in those events.
    • Whenever possible, support school fundraising efforts and let your child know how much you are giving of your time and/or money.
    • Listen to your teenager when he complains about school or talks about not feeling connected. Is there a specific problem?
  • Don’t forget to identify one caring adult at school as your family’s “ally.” Aim for at least five caring adults in your teen’s life.

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