Like you, I strive very hard to ensure my children are given the tools to succeed not only academically but in life. I do not compromise on my expectations because I know they are capable of producing great work. This greatness is not merely defined by a high score, but more importantly the effort put forth to make the grade. Far be it from me to place the responsibility solely on them for I have a crucial role to play as well: I must be their most available and accessible advocate!
Working full time outside of the home while effectively managing the affairs of my home, taking care of my family, building a small publishing company, and actively engaging in community service does not excuse me from being involved in my children’s academics. In fact, it’s imperative that I make it a priority! Here are five ways I’ve learned to do just that:
1. Lead by example. “Do as I say and not as I do” is so passé! If you are teaching your children to prepare for the next school day the night before, you should not find yourself hopping out the door with one shoe on and applying make-up while driving down the street. It’s really hypocritical.
2. Be consistent. Children crave routine. In fact, it helps them to begin developing their own set of priorities and management skills. Of course there will be a caveat…or two…on occasion, but a change in plans every day? No!
3. Stay informed. It is a real waste of energy to berate your child for the failing grade they earned when all you had to do was stay in the know. No one expects you to be at the school as if you work there, but you can make an appointment to review their cumulative folder, meet with the teacher, and sit in on a class. At the very least, send an email at least twice a week and plug into SchoolMax daily on the PGCPS.org “Parent” link to keep up with assignments, grades, and disciplinary action.
4. Teach autonomy. In short, cut the apron strings. Instead of waking them up every morning, teach them how to use an alarm clock. Trust me: they don’t need you as much as you think they do.
5. Make time for fun. All work and no play makes for a stressed overachiever. Monopoly®, Uno®, and good ol’ “Hide-and-Go-Seek” are proven stress busters!
Kimberly K. Parker is the President and CEO of Writing Momma Publishing, LLC (www.writingmomma.com). To date, she has written three books and has helped nine children between the ages of nine and nineteen write and publish books of their own. Leave a comment about this blog below and visit Kimberly’s website at www.writingmomma.com. Once there, sign up to receive her monthly newsletter. In return, Kimberly will give you a collection of her inspirational postcards “Keep It Moving with Kimberly!” while supplies last. Kimberly is a professional writer, author, publisher, and blogger living in Maryland with her husband and three children.