As our students return to school, I am sure many parents are breathing a sigh of relief that some of the daily responsibilities will be reduced for managing the everyday activities of their children. Each year the return to school includes excitement, anticipation, anxiety and new relationships for our kids. The acquisition of new school supplies, clothes and returning to friends can be fun for families as we move from summer back to the classroom.
One important aspect of success in school is the engagement and involvement of parents in the education process. As much as there is relief from the activities of summer there is equally a new level of involvement that parents need to provide so that their children will do well in school.
Back to school introduces a new set of circumstances for students and parents. All the adjustments that your student will make will also be reflected in their schoolwork, their perspective, their behavior and their relationships. Parents should become aware of these developments in real time so they are available and attuned to the everyday experiences of what their children are experiencing.
Unfortunately, there are so many variables that can impact a child in their school experience. Social media, bullying, peer abuse, anxiety, busyness, high levels of academic stress and many other stressors may impact a child as they attempt to achieve their goals in school. I remember those days as a parent and how difficult it was to keep up with the level of homework, the parental expectations and all the events that catch us off guard that seem to be ever-present.
I remember asking, “How do we find out what is going on?” when we were surprised at what we potentially missed.
It can be overwhelming at times particularly if you have more than one child in school. It requires that parents be active, aware, engaged, knowledgeable and anticipatory. It also requires that we know their teachers, their administrators and key school personnel. As they progress throughout the year parents also need to be attentive to the affect and expressed needs of their children when they arrive home from school. Also, the monitoring of social media is an essential part of a parent’s role in a world today that evokes so much potential harm in those internet environments.
So back to school is not only a change for students but a call to parents to be mindful of what your children are experiencing as they journey through their academic and personal processes.
Alert and aware parents are the best safeguard for the safety, growth and success of our children. As we enter this school year, I hope you will be diligent to support your students as they travel through their school challenges.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO