As the school year begins its final turn toward the end of the session, many activities are celebrated. Rather it’s top honors, a winning season, or an overall most improved accolade, the end of the term marks the time to recognize pivotal moments in students’ lives. Many times, these recognitions also bring with them an invitation for parents or guardians or other supporting family members to join in to show their support for their student’s achievements.
While there will always be work conflicts that cannot be avoided, making time to show up for student celebrations should be prioritized whenever possible. It is not so much that parents need to do anything or say anything in particular at these events, it is the attendance itself that evidences support of the child’s accomplishments. Furthermore, by attending these events, parents are also offering nonverbal approval and praise for the child himself as he will understand himself to be worthy if his support team arrives to validate his achievements.
In instances where parents’ schedules do not allow attendance at such events, it is equally important that they tag a family member or close friend to attend in their absence. While no one can actually replace a parent’s attention, having another someone special in the child’s life to attend his end-of-year functions communicates the importance not only of the event but value that the child’s life plays in others’ lives. He recognizes that he has an expanded community of support and that his “team” is proud not only of his hard work, but, more specifically, they are proud of him as an individual!
According to Family First, a non-profit organization created to provide resources to young children, “Parents and family form a child’s first relationships. They are a child’s first teachers and act as role models in how to act and how to experience the world around them…Children thrive when parents are able to actively promote their positive growth and development.” Given the paramount importance that parents play in a child’s life, their involvement in their child’s education, even if it is just to ask about homework and attend school functions, communicates the importance of school. Family Lives through familylives.org recommends the following tips to help parents maximize their support for their child’s education.
- Look out for notices and posters for parents.
- If you can, check the school website.
- Try to make it to the fun events, like school fairs, and to parents’ evenings.
- If you are worried about anything, go and talk to a teacher. They will want to help.
- Make sure your child gives you any letters that are sent home.
Rather it marks the start of the year, the halfway line, or even the end of the year, children rely on parental support of their classroom learning. They also need parental participation in school sanctioned events to offer emotional reinforcement as well as to serve as a model of positive behavior and support for the child’s academic development.
There is no one best way to parent. However, regular inquiries into the child’s academic and extracurricular schedules, his interactions with peers and teachers, as well as his overall progress in school serve as excellent cornerstones to set a platform of support on which the child can rely for years to come.
Dr. Angela Farmer is a lifelong educator, an author, and a syndicated columnist. She serves Mississippi State University as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Honors Education where she can be reached at [email protected]