School is big part of our lives and it can be a great thing or a thorn in the side. Singledad.com is the single parent resource for a successful school year.
School is big part of our lives and it can be a great thing or a thorn in the side. Chances are, if it feels like a great thing to you, it feels like a great thing to your kids and the school. The same is true about the thorn in your side.
Parents often ask me how they can make the school year go more smoothly. They’ve struggled with finding out about the bake sale or canned food drive as they walk into school empty-handed. Or their child is getting a bad grade for months before they find out about it at conferences.
It helps to remember (and do) a few things:
• Remember that teachers, parents and kids are on the same side: What can help is getting on the same page. At the beginning of each school year, make it clear that you want to support the teacher and you appreciate him/her. Ask them to contact you if they have any concerns or if you can help out.
• Volunteer: Do something you like to do that fits into your life. It doesn’t take a lot, but it helps you to be part of the community.
• Share the responsibility: Who is responsible for making sure that you know you’re to bring 50 Valentines with 50 boxes of those chalky little candies? The child may say it’s your job, and while your job is to get to the store, it is the child’s job to make sure you get the paperwork. Obviously, this may be more difficult for younger kids to remember, so adjust for age and maturity levels.
• Communicate with teachers: Remember what I said about responsibility? Even thought it is the child’s responsibility to remember to hand you those little notes, it’s your job to know about them before they even come home. Communicate with your child’s teacher to ask what they need and stay apprised of what’s going on in the classroom so that you know.
•School conferences: Use school conferences as they were intended – a time to work out any wrinkles and help kids to do well in school. At a recent conference for my son.
I realized the teacher’s communication style and my son’s didn’t mesh. I was able to work with the teacher to create a plan that works well for both of them. My son is enjoying class more and doing better as well. Use the time to brainstorm solutions and celebrate your child’s achievements.
Empathize with kids, but never talk badly about a teacher: we all feel heard when people empathize with us – letting us know they feel badly for us and it sounds like it’s a difficult situation. But when we put teachers down, children feel like it’s a free pass to do badly in that class. Worse, they learn to resolve conflicts by putting other people down. Use conflicts as an opportunity to teach problem solving skills by asking for a conference with the teacher and child to work through any challenges.
When we realize we’re all on the same side the biggest winners are the kids.
Richard “RJ” Jaramillo, is the Founder of SingleDad.com,
a website and social media resource dedicated to single parenting and specifically for the newly divorced, re-married, widowed and single Father with children.
RJ is self employed, entrepreneur living in San Diego and a father of three children. The mission of SingleDad is to help the community of Single Parents
“Make Life Happen…Again!”