Do you feel disconnected from your child’s school? Do you feel like you drop your kid off at the school or bus stop and from that point until the time they are back in the car/at home with you, you feel like you have NO idea what they are doing and how their time is being spent? That’s a scary feeling!
I mean, these children are your LIFE! We go from preschool “What I did today” sheets that detail what they ate, who they played with, all the way down to how many bowel movements they had, to a few papers showing up every week in their Tuesday folder.
The lack of communication can be upsetting, depressing, frustrating, you name it.
Here are some ways to feel more “connected” to your child’s school:
Volunteer – Okay, hate to be the super obvious PTA mom here, but the BEST way to feel connected to your kid’s school is to help out. Do what you can. You have a full time job?
That’s perfectly okay! I’m sure there are volunteer opportunities you can do in the evenings or at home. Getting involved in your child’s school through volunteering is HUGE. The second best thing to actually working there and getting a paycheck. The teachers see you, the staff sees you, your kids friends see you and to top it all off, your KID sees you helping out!
It’s not only a great example to set, but it gives you so many opportunities to be a fly on the wall. It gives you the opportunity to put faces to names and to build relationships with the people your children spend half their day with.
Eat lunch with your kids – Surprise them with a pizza or just go through the lunch line with them. Brown bag it. Do this often enough that you get to know your kids friends, but not so often that your child isn’t getting proper time to socialize. Remember, they need this time to unwind from the first part of their day
Request a parent teacher conference – a lot of parents are shocked when I plan a parent teacher conference with my kid’s teachers. What’s wrong? What happened? Are they in trouble? NO! I’ve actually never had a parent teacher conference that was initiated by my kid’s teachers (knock on wood). If I don’t request a parent teacher conference, I would go all year NEVER having a sit down with my child’s teacher about my kid’s education.
My kids are good students that get good grades, but they have weaknesses too and as their parent, it is my responsibility to be an active part in my child’s education. So usually once a semester, I request a conference just to go over the status, ask any questions I have banked that haven’t been email worthy and honestly just give THEM a chance to tell me anything they feel I need to know
Go to school events – Go to the programs, go to the curriculum nights, go to the spirit nights. Be an active participant in the opportunities the school offers specifically to give parents a chance to get involved and get IN the school. You might not make it to everything, but getting involved in the school spirit will help you to feel included and will encourage your child as well.
Be a helper, not a complainer – Before you complain on Facebook…have you contacted the proper sources? Have you emailed the teacher? Gotten clarification from the principal? I mean this is just being a grown up y’all. If you have a problem with someone, take it to them first and see if you can find a solution. If the teacher can’t help (or won’t help), take it up to the principal.
Complaining in a local mom group of 3000+ people is
A.) not going to solve anything and
B.) inevitably contains friends or friends of friends or coworkers of said teacher/employee/peer and word will eventually make it’s way back to the teacher/school anyway, so why not just avoid the public embarrassment for both parties and complain where the complaining will do some actual good.
Work WITH the school whenever possible.
Think of the school as extended family. Don’t air your dirty laundry unless it comes to that (and sadly, there ARE times it comes to that…but 9 times of out 10, the drama I see could have been easily solved with a quick email or parent conference).
I hope this helps give you some ideas on how to feel more connected to the school. I will say that I really think #1 up there carries the most weight. All of them are important aspects of your relationship and connectivity to your child(ren)’s school.
Comment below with any questions, experiences or your own advice!