3 Strategies to Involve Parents in Children's Education
Learning doesn’t end in the classroom, yet most parents are at a loss when it comes to supporting their children’s intellectual development. Many try to do too well and hover around them when they do homework, which can stifle creativity and self-development. Others let them roam free and hardly monitor their progress.
Yet, studies are unanimous: children are more successful at school when parents are involved. Better yet, teachers, too, are positively affected when parents take interest.
That’s because involved parents promote positive classroom behavior, make sure children do their homework, help them be more organized, enforce disciplinary measures, and validate their effort.
For teachers, involving parents boosts positive self-perception and job satisfaction.
The challenge is to help them understand how they can help their child succeed.
Here are three strategies to involve parents in children’s education.
Positive Study Environments
Help parents find a balance that works for their child.
Provide information and ideas about how to best assist with homework and other curriculum-related activities.
Encourage reading at home by creating a custom reading list based on the child’s personality, interests, and level.
Set up clear homework policies.
Detail how parents should be involved and revise them on a case-by-case basis depending on the student’s progress.
Ask parents to stick to a study routine and set up a homework-friendly area where distractions are kept to a minimum.
That means enforcing a no-TV, computer, or phone environment.
Suggest enrichment activities.
This will help parents build constructive relationships with their child as well. Some good ideas include fun
science experiments, DYI activities, family trips to the library, age-appropriate museum exhibitions, and theatrical plays.
Early & Frequent Communication
As teachers, we’re often wrongly seen as the nameless beings that unfairly grade children’s papers. Yet, above all, we’re parents’ partners in education. It’s critical to build a bridge and maintain an open door policy so parents can understand what you’re trying to achieve. Only then will they be able to complement your efforts outside the classroom.
A good way to do this is to communicate about school programs and child's progress on an ongoing basis.
Start by introducing yourself at the beginning of the school year.
Keep a notebook of classroom facts, the curriculum, study resources, contact information, key terminology, and tips detailing how parents can support their child’s progress. Establish a homework hotline where families can call to retrieve forgotten or missed assignments.
Talk with parents, not at them.
Establish a rapport of equality and create a comfortable atmosphere. Place the student at the center of all communications, making sure that parents understand they are the priority. Avoid the education jargon and be concise. Don’t come with fixed answers. Rather, ask parents for their input and suggestions.
Ask families about their communication preferences.
This includes desired frequency and preferred medium of communication. Send class newsletters and performance reports accordingly. Not every parent likes to receive email updates every week. Don’t forget to share good news, too. It’s important that parents know that you’re not criticizing their children, but looking to make a difference.
Start a blog.
This can be a fantastic tool to share classroom updates and involve parents you throughout the year. Public or private, your blog can become the place where you discuss study activities, your personal philosophy on teaching, field trips, and more. Edublog or Wix feature a wide array of easily customizable templates to get you set up with a professional-looking blog for free.
Seeing your face is a good way to humanize communications and to help parents to connect with you more effectively. This can be a friendly way for you to share major updates and methodologies with parents if you can’t do it in person. You’ll love Animoto or iMovies: they are incredibly easy tools to create and edit your own videos.
Ask families to participate in bake sales, lemonade stands, or car washes to raise funds for school supplies. It’ll provide an opportunity for them to spend time with you, ask questions, and see you in your element. Another good idea is to invite parents to talk about their careers and skills. This will enable them to connect with their child’s classmates and to become an active participant in the classroom.
Include them in decision-making.
Empower parents by creating a parent-teacher group. This will promote open communication and understanding between parents and school staff. Ask the group for their feedback about classroom activities, school programs, field trips, and events.
Get to know them better.
Organize parents-teacher workshops where you can discuss homework, tests, and study skills. Make these events fun and unique: turn “Mother’s days” and “Father’s day” into an opportunity to celebrate matriarchs and patriarchs and how they can respectively make a difference in their child’s progress.
Eva du Monteil has been teaching French to children and adults in South Korea and the United States for 10 years. Passionate about connecting the world through languages, she holds a master from Sciences Po in Paris.