Working Parents' Guide to Getting Involved

Written by: Victoria Nygren

When people tell you to get involved in your child’s school, it can seem daunting. You work full-time and sometimes feel like you can barely get through the day. Where do you begin?

My experience shows you can make it happen in a way that works for you and makes your child feel like a superstar.

Take a field trip

Plan ahead and volunteer for your child’s class field trip. In one day, you experience learning and fun with your child, meet other parents and fulfill your volunteering commitment. If you are going to take a day off, do it with your child! Parent participation on field trips is critical, so everyone will benefit from having you there.

Participate in the classroom

Respond to the teacher’s request to help with an in-classroom activity. From decorating gingerbread houses to leading story time, these activities take limited time, prove easy and fun and mean so much to your little one. Kids feel proud to have a parent in the classroom! Plus, you get to see how teachers manage a large classroom. You might learn discipline tactics, teaching methods and other tips to easily apply at home.

Help with classroom supplies

All classrooms need supplies. Providing wipes or snacks is a great way to help when your work schedule prevents you from being there in person. Add classroom needs to your grocery or Target list and send them with your child to school. You will feel a lot less guilty, the teacher will be thrilled to have the assistance, and your child will see that you are involved.

When you get involved, you also have a better chance of getting past the “How was your day?”—“Fine” dialogue. You will know what to ask and engage in some interesting dinner conversations.

Victoria Nygren serves as agency manager of the Chicago North Agency for COUNTRY Financial. She manages six offices housing 25 financial representatives. Nygren has developed programs for NPN’s Parent University to help families plan their financial future.

Posted on October 29, 2012 at 1:53 PM