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Good parents stay involved

Published On: Apr 24 2013 12:19:07 PM CDT
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It was easy to show up for your child's Little League games over the summer ... but how can you, as a parent, continue that level of involvement and support during the school year?

Many school districts and teachers work hard to get parents involved with their kids' educations. Studies have shown that students learn more effectively when there is a high level of parental involvement.

Schools and parent-teacher groups like the PTA continually work to implement programs that will include parents in their children's educations, such as parents' night, family workshops and take-home activities.

Here are some things that parents can do to stay involved in their kids' school lives.

  • Ask Questions And Listen: Each night, ask your child about his or her day. Be persistent in your inquiries; it's far too easy to get caught up with "adult" problems and forget that your child is discovering new things every day.

  • Get Involved With PTA: This will allow you to take an active role in making decisions about what your child is learning. Ask questions and talk to other parents. Knowing the important issue at your child's school will not only ease your own mind, but also show your child that you care.

  • Offer Regular Encouragement: Don't wait until report cards come out to find out how your child is doing in school. Commend them on their efforts and seek help for them if they are struggling.

  • Encourage Productive After-School Activities: Encourage your child to join sports teams or clubs. Investigate other options, such as YMCA, YWCA, Boys and Girls Club, community center or church activities, and then decide together with your child how he or she will spend after-school time. If he or she will be home without a parent, set rules about TV and computer time and enforce them.

  • Know Your Child's Teacher: Perhaps more important than anything else, keep in contact with your child's teacher. Voicemail and e-mail are effective tools to combat busy schedules. Relay any questions or problems your child may have to his or her teacher, and discuss his or her academic, emotional and social growth.

Fostering a healthy relationship with your child's teacher is important. Here are some tips from ParentSoup.com to help create an effective relationship:

  • Make Your First Interaction Positive: A kind greeting upon introduction will leave a lasting impression. A teacher is more likely to be open to your concerns if your first interaction was positive.

  • Don't Get Angry Before Knowing The Facts: If something your child tells you about school upsets you, keep your cool until you know the whole story. Children may unintentionally garble important information. Get the teacher's side of the story before lashing out at anyone.

  • Don't Go Over Their Heads: Going directly to the principal with a problem shows a lack of respect to the teacher. Approach the teacher with a problem first, and then only go to the principal if you don't get satisfaction.

  • Be Sensitive: Teaching is an intensely personal job -- teachers are people who are paid to care about the thoughts and feelings of others. Remember that you and the teacher have the same goal: to do what's best for your child.

  • Communicate: Teachers welcome dialogue with parents to gain better understanding of their students, and parents should expect periodic updates from teachers on their children's performance and notification about academic problems.
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