Sometimes, working parents get a bad rap when it comes to school activities. Recently, I saw a conversation on Facebook in which a stay at home mom was chastising other parents who did not show up for an event at the school during the day. As a WAHM (work at home mom), it is now easy for me to attend my daughter’s school events and programs. But as someone who used to work in the corporate world, I missed a lot of things because I couldn’t get away from work to be there. As a parent, you have to provide for your children, and that may or may not come with time off of work to do so. But that doesn’t mean you are a bad parent.
It does mean, however, that you have to be creative when it comes to being involved with your child’s schooling. I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum and still deal with a lot of business travel, which sometimes makes me miss various things at her school. So I have come up with a few ways that working parents can stay PROactive during the school year and involved without taking off each and every time something comes up at school.
1. Show up when it’s important to do so
Not everything is mandatory for you to attend, but there are a few things in which you should not miss. Open House Night, for starters, is an important night in which you can get to know your child’s teacher better, as well as the curriculum, rules, discipline, etc. Parent Teacher Conference night is another thing you should make sure to attend. Your child’s progress is discussed at length person-to-person, and in order for you to help, you need to know from the teacher, about your child’s performance. Any recitals or concerts are always things you will want to take a break away from work for if you can. Your child will need your physical support. (And if you can’t be there, make sure someone they love is. Another parent, a sibling, Grandparent, Aunt, etc.)
If you have a hectic work schedule (or work odd hours), most of the time, your child’s teacher will work with you. I know my child’s teacher offers conference times before and after school, and will even do them by phone if necessary. Let the teacher and staff know your schedule and I am sure they will work with you.
3. Email is your friend
I must admit—I utilize email a lot with my daughter’s teacher. I think it’s a wonderful way to communicate when needed and the teacher likes to hear from you. If you have any questions or concerns and can’t make it to the school, by all means, use email.
4. Do a Drop In
Instead of lunching with your colleagues, take a day once every two months or so and go to your child’s school to have lunch with your little student. Your child will love it and it will give you a chance to see everything in action during the actual school day. The teachers like it too. You go to lunch anyway, so why not lunch with your child?
There are all sorts of volunteer opportunities that are either in the evenings after work, on the weekend, or even something you can do at home. Perhaps your school needs someone to sell t-shirts during Parent Teacher Night. Or to type up the notes of the last PTA meeting. Do something to stay involved with the school, even if it’s something “small”.
6. Do the Work at Home
Education is not about your child going to school, then coming home and doing homework. It is a partnership between the school, the teacher, your child, and you. Ask questions, help with homework, know the lessons/cirriculum being taught so you can discuss them with your child, etc. Education works when you as a parent are involved.
There are many more ways to stay proactive during the school year, but these are 6 that I feel can really benefit most working parent families. I hope you find them helpful!
Do you have any working parent tips you want to share?
These are excellent tips. As the PTO president, this is great advice for working parents. I will share to my online family.
The Cubicle Chick says
Thank you so much for commenting, LaShaunda and for sharing with parents who will find this helpful. I so know the struggle. I hope these tips will help working parents see that they can be involved with their child’s school, even if it calls for a little creativity. 🙂
My work at home schedule, like yours, allows me to volunteer in our son’s preschool classroom at least 3x a month.
But my parents both worked volunteered to chaperone for trips and band camp. I was always proud to have them show up at school. I can tell my son liked it too. He told a classmate, “That’s my Mom. Her name is Joyce.”