Parental participation in a world of education and schooling which is becoming ever-complex can be a great source of strength for children. Not only can it be an enriching form of guidance but it can also build and advance any child’s confidence and self-esteem. Many child psychologists and experts have highlighted the various benefits of healthy parent-child relationships and this is undeniably reflected in education too. I will go through some generic information and advice about how to become more active and improve involvement in the education process.
Discussing what your child is learning at school
This can seem simplistic or obvious to some but it is crucial. An inquisitive parent equals an enthusiastic child. Many parents overlook the benefits of asking and discussing school topics with their child as it may seem like a hassle. The simplest way to spark such a conversation is by asking how your child’s day at school was – then by asking which subjects they studied and what topics they covered in a specific subject. This will not only refresh their memory but keep you informed as to their curriculum.
Excursions and activities
Monthly educational visits to museums, the library or an exhibition can be great quality time and can really help your child be more perceptive and interested in cultural activities. Once this becomes a monthly occurrence, the likelier it is to become an ingrained habit. It can broaden your child’s general knowledge and give them a more insightful view on things they may be learning at school, as well as on the world as a whole.
Again, this may sound straightforward but research suggests that it is not. For many children who are in the transitional phase between Year 6 and secondary school, it can be an overwhelming time in which they can easily feel lost. At KS3, for example, this can be done through drawing up a homework timetable and assigning slots for when you will sit down and tackle homework together. This will demonstrate your interest in your child’s learning and make him/her feel more supported.
Becoming proactive in school life
Getting involved in parent-teacher associations, attending meetings, events, being present at school productions, fundraising or sporting events can be a great boost to your child’s wellbeing at school and can help you form a much clearer and sound vision of your child’s school life (how they interact with their classmates and teachers). This will not only show your child that you are attentive and interested in their education but it will also exhibit this to the teachers. This is also a valuable way for communicating and socialising with other parents and teachers
Providing a calm learning environment
With the stresses of daily school life on top impending exams in many cases, there is nothing worse than coming home to chaotic surroundings. Therefore, providing a pleasant and somewhat peaceful learning space in the home is vital. This is fundamental to students not only in the run up to exams where revision is at the top of the agenda but also throughout the year when unwinding and relaxing after school will be sought-after tools for stress management.
This cannot be emphasised enough. Listening to young people’s worries and concerns can mean such a load off their shoulders. Something may really be preoccupying them and preventing them from focussing on school work. Therefore, lending a genuine and non-judgemental ear can be highly refreshing. This way, you can be part of the solution. Coming up with constructive, practical solutions – i.e. through writing up a step-by-step plan of action – can be a huge relief and put the problem in to perspective. Many youngsters are vulnerable to high levels of stress, which is natural in this competitive climate, however you can be a great source of experience, wisdom and knowledge to prevent them amplifying a problem in their minds. Consider sharing some of the problems you faced as a youngster and how you overcame them. As children grow up and become more independent, they will profit more from this type of collaborative support as opposed to instructive advice.
Please feel free to post your thoughts and views on parental involvement in a child’s education below. We are always interested in hearing what you think.