Kids Back to School? 10 Easy Ways to Stay Involved

Put up a "school bulletin board" for papers or permission slips that need signing, and a calendar that's dedicated to school events, homework due dates, projects, and trips. Display great grades and art and encourage your children to think of the bulletin board as their own special project.

Find out what your child's school routine is: Learn your child's schedule. Does he or she take art on Wednesdays and music every Monday? Post the schedule on your bulletin board.

Meet your child's teacher as soon as you can -- at orientation or on the first day of classes. Schedule a meeting with the school principal, and extracurricular teachers too, if possible.

Attend parent-teacher conferences and your school's open house. For a conference, you may want to bring along a list of questions. Ask the teacher how your child is fitting in, what he or she enjoys, and what books the students are reading this year. If your work schedule makes it difficult to attend, take turns with your partner.

Take a day to volunteer at school. Find out in advance about school trips and consider taking a personal day to be a chaperone. If that's not possible, think about volunteering to chaperone a school dance or function that takes place after office hours.

Extend your child's school experience. Help your kids get involved in after-school and extracurricular activities like Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, drama or athletics -- your presence at weekend games, plays and meetings will assure your kids that you want to be involved too.

 

Get to know who your child's school friends are and encourage your child to invite them over on the weekend. School friends are extremely important to children, as you may remember from your own school years.

Have a daily discussion. At dinner or at some point in the evening, set aside a time every day to talk to your kids about what happened at school. It may sound simple, but checking in every day is the best way to participate in your child's education.

Try writing a fun weekly "kid questionnaire" for discussion on Sunday nights. It needn't be complicated; just a few simple questions for your children to answer. You can ask what they're worried about, what they like about school -- or what they don't, what new, exciting things they are learning or what they don't. The more specific the questions, the more likely they will be to open up a conversation.

Learn with your kids. Schedule family trips together to the library, the bookstore, and the museum, and talk to your children about things they'd like to learn about, or what excites their curiosity. Trips like this can bring the learning process out of the classroom and help you participate together.

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