The rate of parental involvement at school often declines when children enter the middle grades. But it doesn’t have to, according to Mary Simon, author of How to Parent Your Teenager.
Here are some ways parents can participate after their children leave the elementary ranks:
- Serve as a volunteer in the school office, library, hallways, or cafeteria.
- Listen to students read.
- Be a tutor.
- Share your hobbies, culture, or special skills with students.
- Help with clubs and activities. Organize and distribute sports uniforms, be a timer for debates, or teach students how to play chess.
- Chaperone field trips and dances.
- Support your school’s fundraising efforts.
- Contact sources of funding to help support special projects.
- Serve on school committees.
- Lead or support PTA efforts.
Simon reports that her own involvement enriched her understanding of her son’s life in junior high.
What makes participation more difficult at these levels is the fact that students often feel more independent and sometimes act as though they don’t want their parents involved.
Don’t fall for it. Deep down, young people are really pleased that their parents still care enough to participate.
And it’s a very good way to stay in tune with what’s going on.