Studies show that children perform better academically when their parents actively participate in school. According to the National Education Association (NEA), students with parents or caregivers who are active in their school get better grades, are better behaved and a positive attitude towards learning. Research also shows that by getting involved in their children’s school, parents develop more trust in the education system, expand their social network and strengthen their ties to the community.
Schools also benefit from parent involvement. Anne Henderson and Nancy Berla, authors of A New Generation of Evidence: The Family Is Critical to Student Achievement, write that “When parents are involved in school, children go farther in school and the schools they go to are better."
Getting involved is great, we all agree. But doing so can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are ways to stay active in your kids’ school without having to be the president of the PTA or quitting your day job. Here are some realistic suggestions that can help you have an impact, even if you have little time.
- Support special events Check the school calendar to find what events take place after school hours or on weekends. One or two-hour shifts may include organizing an event, operating a food stand or selling tickets.
- Donate your talent Sometimes leaving your office is not possible. But you can lend a hand by helping the school in other ways like designing and printing flyers or making phone calls on behalf of the school or PTA.
- Become a tutor For parents with a part-time schedule, helping teachers with tutoring during after-school programs or during busy test weeks is a convenient option. Tutoring typically takes place after school hours and once the children get the rhythm, it flows quickly.
- Chaperone on field trips Schools plan excursions and educational trips well in advance. You can request the day off from work in order to chaperone a certain school group without having to commit permanently.
- Plan a work tour Instead of going to your child's school for Career Day, you can invite the whole class to tour your workplace.
Allowing the school to hear alternatives rather than refusing to volunteer for lack of time, can stimulate positive communication and make you look like a parent who actively seeks solutions instead of excuses.