“When it comes to a breakfast of ham and eggs, the chicken is involved but the pig is committed.” - Anonymous.
Parent involvement or parent engagement
In the new year, positive resolutions are a dime a dozen, and often barely last the summer holiday. However, some resolutions are more important than others, particularly when it comes to our family. For a lot of parents, the holiday break is when they spend more time with their son and we find a lot of parents saying they want practical ways to be more engaged with their son.
Parental engagement is a number of simple interactions in daily life that reinforce a child’s self-esteem in the relationship felt between parent and child. Being a more engaged parent refers to the larger role parents play in supporting their child’s learning, through practical daily processes. Though involvement in school activities is beneficial, especially the relationships between parents and teachers, research shows that encouragement, continued attention and care toward a child’s learning at home is more impactful on academic outcomes than participation in school-based activities. Simply put, there are a number of practical interactions for being a more engaged parent that will have a highly positive impact on your son.
Parental involvement is not bad, though engagement offers reasonable and readily available opportunities for transformational beneficial change – at home, for the child, for the school and even the wider community.
Practical Tips for Being a More Engaged Parent
- Consistency is key. Regardless of whether a parent is strict or lenient – the key is to be consistent. A child needs their parents to be reliably consistent and predictable in relation to meal times, rules and boundaries, allowances and moneys, and discipline for breaking the standards.
- Active listening and conversation. Turning off mobile phones and other distracting electronic items during dinner time, or reducing the access to these devices is important to achieve this at home. Conversation during dinner time and whilst running errands in the car are two of the most effective times for chats. Conversations around learning, social issues, and telling stories and family memories are all highly positive conversational elements of parent-child engagement.
- High expectations and aspirations for children. This element is consistently seen as the strongest and most influential aspect of parent engagement. It is argued that parental expectations shape a child’s own beliefs and self-worth toward their academic competence.
- Shared reading can change the entire attitude of children toward classroom work, as well as giving strong, ongoing foundations for parent-child relationships. Shared reading also reinforces a child’s affinity for the written and verbal language, in a low-stress context.
- Positive environment for homework. No matter the child’s age, the homework station should have plenty of surface space. Kitchen and dining room tables offer great defaults, though create another proximal go-to spot that is more permanent. For children in preparatory school, a centrally located space is ideal; though for middle and senior school students, closeness is not as important as limiting distraction. Involve your child in the decision of where they will do their work.
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