Parenting is perhaps the toughest "job” a person can have, and the parent-child bond is one of the strongest connections. According to the Michigan Department of Education, in a fact sheet about parental involvement, children of involved parents have higher grades and increased motivation because these children are often held to higher expectations set by their parents. According to the parenting website, ParentalRights.org, young children who are not yet in school learn how to self-regulate their behavior and have a higher sense of self-worth when they have parents who are involved in their daily lives. Even working parents can utilize a few tips to enhance parent involvement in their children’s life.
Play with your child. Children learn about their environment and develop key brain systems through exploration and play. Whether you’re the parent of a toddler or a teenager, it is important to show an interest in your child’s activities and provide opportunities for learning.
Show genuine interest in your child when he talks to you. Even when toddlers seem to talk constantly, it is essential that you listen and respond to what he says. This action helps your child feel loved, and he will develop a sense of family support. In an article from ParentalRights.org, Dr. Benjamin A. Shaw of the School of Public Health says children who receive parental support tend to carry good physical and psychological health through their adult years.
Praise your child. Children thrive on pleasing their parents, so it is essential for you to tell your child when he does something well. Be specific with your praise, so rather than just saying “good job,” tell your child at what he did that was a good job.
Read your child’s school newsletter and stay active in parent-teacher meetings whenever possible. This step allows you to monitor your child’s development in school while also showing your child you have an interest in his academic progress.
Keep a calendar of your child’s activities on the refrigerator or other visible location. The calendar serves as reminder to you and your child about upcoming events, and you can even schedule special time to spend together. If you assure your child that you will cheer from the stands at his next soccer game, make sure you follow through.
Volunteer at your child’s school whenever possible for events like fundraisers or performances. Some schools even have special organizations to involve parents with volunteering for particular activities.
Set aside time each day to talk to your child about their day or their school work. This time can be as short as 15 minutes, but it will help you outline expectations for your child and give him motivation to succeed. Use this time to encourage your child to do his best.
Renowned psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner states that "the family seems to be the most effective and economical system for fostering and sustaining the child’s development," and without parental involvement, "intervention is likely to be unsuccessful."