Staying Connected to Your Child as He Goes to School

Sometimes our children teach us profound things, and sometimes they delight us. Ella, my three-year old granddaughter who is having her first experience in school, delighted me while giving me a great topic for my blog this week.

Our family works very hard to have Sunday lunch together—it is simply our tradition. This past Sunday, I asked Ella to tell me about her favorite part of preschool.  She proudly exclaimed, “Snack!” I smiled at the skinny little girl and thought about how much she fascinates me. When her mom picked her up yesterday, she asked what she liked the most about her day. Ella said, “When we get our ‘wunch’ boxes out.”

If we want to find out about our child’s day at school, we obviously need to be purposeful. Here are some simple tips about HOW to stay connected with your child once he starts to school:

1.     Many schools routinely send home notes, so be sure to empty his backpack every day. Do this with him as it might spark a conversation about his day.

2.     Check the school’s website routinely. Make sure that you know if there is a calendar or pages dedicated to your child’s specific age group.

3.     Ask your child’s teacher if s/he has email or another way to communicate electronically.

4.     Almost all schools have a newsletter. If your child does not bring one home, ask the office.

5.     Sometimes there is a contact parent for each room, and this parent will know a lot about what is going on. You can get in touch with that parent rather than the teacher.

6.     Volunteer at the school when you can. No amount of time volunteering is too little, and it will help you and your child feel more connected. If you cannot find the time to volunteer, go inside the building and look at what is posted about upcoming events and general news on the bulletin boards.

7.     Send a disposable camera to school and ask the teacher to take snapshots of your child. Keep in mind that typically only young children appreciate you doing this.

8.     The telephone still works great, so set up a phone conference with your child’s teacher. Sometimes just hearing about your child directly from the teacher is exactly what you need to feel connected.

9.     Create a game that you and your child play consistently where you share the highs and lows of your day with each other. As an example, you could call the game “Peaks and Pits” or anything that makes it fun and unique to your family. If you do this routinely, your child may share more and more with you … but it only works well if everyone participates, including the adults.

Staying connected requires purposeful action, but it can be done if parents make it is a priority. The payoff is well worth the effort!

Written By Donna McClintock, COO with Children’s Choice Learning Centers, Inc.
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