Research has shown that parents who take an active part in their child’s schooling—be it through their physical presence during school activities or just going over his or her homework together—tend to raise achievers. These are easy enough to do if you’re a stay-at-home mom, but what if you’re juggling work at the same time? Have no fear, because parental involvement in your child’s schooling can take on many forms.
FN offers 10 tips on staying active in your child’s school life while juggling a busy schedule. Click on a title to find out about it or simply read on:
- Find out the dates of the important school activities in advance
- Religiously attend parent-teacher conferences
- For the minor events, try taking turns with the hubby
- Review homework together
- Encourage her to talk about her day
- Know who her school friends are
- Make every use of your free time together
- Wake up early enough to prepare their school things and see them off
- For older children, encourage them to read, read, and read
- Always offer help when asked
FIND OUT THE DATES OF THE IMPORTANT SCHOOL ACTIVITIES IN ADVANCE
Most schools usually release a calendar of activities for the school year on the first day of class. Take note of the important ones, and schedule your vacation leaves in advance so that you can be there.
RELIGIOUSLY ATTEND PARENT-TEACHER CONFERENCES
Consultations with your child’s teachers and counselors, orientations, and open houses offer you opportunities to get to know your child’s teachers and get personal updates on how your child is doing in school. Thus, you should try to attend each one with your child’s father—and if, on occasion, one of you can’t make it, make sure the other can.
FOR THE MINOR EVENTS, TRY TAKING TURNS WITH THE HUBBY
Chaperoning field trips or helping out at the school fair need not be a solo effort. Discuss with your husband which events he would like to attend in your stead. What’s important is that one parent is there.
(Photo source: sxc.hu)
REVIEW HOMEWORK TOGETHER
Try to come home early enough in the evening so that you and your child can go over what he or she learned that day. Or if you can’t do homework together, have them work on this ahead, but be sure to check through his or her work before he or she goes back to school the next day. In the same vein, go over test papers brought home, but don’t nitpick on the mistakes—give praise for test questions answered correctly.
ENCOURAGE HER TO TALK ABOUT HER DAY
Whether it’s on the ride home from school or at the dinner table, start the conversation with “How was your day?” and don’t be satisfied with an “It was okay” reply. Encourage your child if he or she mentions difficulties, and praise him or her when for achievements. Remember not to focus on school exclusively, though—ask about friends and time spent at home before you get off work.
KNOW WHO HER SCHOOL FRIENDS ARE
If you can, volunteer your house for the next study session, or be sure to invite your child’s friends to the next birthday party. Then make friends with their parents. Remember that your child will be spending more time with his or her friends than with you, so make sure they are good influences.
MAKE EVERY USE OF YOUR FREE TIME TOGETHER
If weekdays are simply too hectic for you, turn weekends into opportunities for fun learning. Doing the groceries together is a great way to teach math or learn about colors, while you can learn science concepts while baking.
(Photo source: sxc.hu)
WAKE UP EARLY ENOUGH TO PREPARE THEIR SCHOOL THINGS AND TO SEE THEM OFF
You will not always be able to control the time you get off work. But you can control the time you set the alarm on your clock for. Be willing to give up that extra half hour of sleep for an extra half hour of bonding with your children—it will be well worth the sacrifice.
FOR OLDER CHILDREN, ENCOURAGE THEM TO READ, READ, AND READ
If your kids find novels too daunting, introduce them to magazines, which are easier to read. There are many special interest magazines available in the market now, so ask them what they want to learn more about and pick the related titles. You can also pick up shorter novels for kids and young adults—you may be able to tickle their fancy by showing them book series based on (or that originated) the TV shows they follow.
FINALLY, ALWAYS OFFER HELP WHEN ASKED
Whether it’s researching for a school report or sewing a Halloween costume, never brush off your child’s requests or pass the tasks on to the maid or yaya. Your child wants you involved, so grab the opportunity while you can—this might not always be true.
Juggling work and parenting is hard; finding time for school in the midst of working toward a promotion is even harder. But when you feel torn or overscheduled, simply remind yourself that being involved will make a difference in your child’s life and will give you fond memories of his or her childhood you will never be able to replicate in later years.
(Photo source: sxc.hu)