When visiting the school, walk or ride the route your child will take. Speak to your child about talking to strangers, and observe along the route any areas in which your child must exercise caution.
Look for the school patrols, crossing guard, or police officers on the streets near the school. Find out the school’s policy for early arrivals, and if needed, organize with other parents to have adults stationed outside the school to watch the children until the school allows them to enter.
Introduce yourself to your child’s teacher. Ask the teacher the times he/she is available to talk to parents.
Now that you know the teacher of your child, offer to help with class trips or with school activities. Are more books needed in the library? Offer to hold a book drive or find a company that will donate books.
Does the teacher need assistance with particular projects in the school? If time permits, offer to be a classroom parent or to organize other parents to help in the classroom or at the school. If you can’t make it to the classroom during school hours, ask if there are things you can do from home or on the weekends that would be helpful.
Afterschool and Extracurricular Activities
If the school offers afterschool and/or extra-curricular activities, find out ways you can assist. If the budget restricts afterschool activities, find ways you or members in the community could assist.
Make homework time a daily habit. Find a quiet and consistent place at home where your child can complete his or her homework.
If your child is having difficulty with his or her homework, make an appointment with the teacher to discuss his or her difficulty. Check with the counselor and the teacher about tutors to get your child help if needed.
Limit the time that you let your child watch TV. Too much television cuts into important activities in a child’s life, such as reading, playing with friends, and talking with family members.
When your child is watching TV, watch with him or her when you can. Talk together about what you see. Try to point out the things in TV programs that are like your child’s everyday life.
When you can’t watch TV with your child, spot check to see what he or she is watching. Ask questions after the show ends. See what excites him and what troubles him. Find out what he has learned and remembered.
Carrie Jasper is director of outreach to parents and families