There are tons of great reasons for parents to get involved in school. Children whose parents are involved in their education tend to get better grades and have fewer behavior problems, and they are more likely to continue their education beyond high school, among other benefits.
How can something so easy pay off in such a big way? It’s simple, really. When you make time to go to parent-teacher conferences or volunteer at the school carnival, you show your child just how much you care about her education. And she’ll be more likely to care about it, too.
Here are some of the other benefits of parent involvement, according to more than 30 years of research studies. Kids have better attitudes about school and develop better social skills. They’re more likely to do their homework and to attend school regularly. Parents start to feel more comfortable at school and more capable of helping their children learn. Teacher morale improves. The quality of schools rises, and they enjoy better reputations in their communities.
No matter how busy your schedule is, there are ways you can get involved in your child’s education. At home, emphasize the importance of learning to your child. Make sure he completes his homework, and be on hand to help if he gets stuck. Stay in touch with your child’s teacher throughout the school year. Don’t wait until your child gets a bad report card to talk to the teacher about his trouble finishing math homework or how he freezes up when he takes a test.
Be sure you don’t miss important school events like open houses and parent-teacher conferences. Mark the dates of these and other events on your calendar at the start of the school year to avoid scheduling conflicts.
Look for ways to pitch in at school, whether it’s making cookies for a bake sale or speaking at career day. Start by talking with your child’s teacher and checking in with the school parent-teacher group. If your school has a parent involvement coordinator or a volunteer coordinator, ask that person how you can help. And if you still need ideas of how to get involved, check out our list.
Help the teacher
- Volunteer in your child’s classroom.
- Prepare materials for craft projects.
- Tutor a student.
- Chaperone a field trip.
- Help with class parties.
Support the parent-teacher group
- Attend PTO or PTA meetings.
- Make flyers to promote parent group events.
- Go to a school family night—and help clean up after it’s over.
- Help with teacher appreciation efforts.
- Take pictures at events for the school newsletter.
Help with special events
- Supervise an activity at field day.
- Work a shift at the school book fair.
- Pick up trash or pull weeds during a campus cleanup day.
- Build sets or make costumes for the school play.
- Answer questions from new parents at registration night.
Give staff members a break
- Monitor the playground during recess
- or the cafeteria during lunch.
- Volunteer in the front office.
- Make photocopies for teachers.
- Shelve library books.
- Help the art teacher display student projects.
Use your skills
- Talk to students about your job or hobby.
- Organize a before-school running club.
- Install new software in the computer lab.
- Lay out the school newsletter.
- Update the school website.