Go Ask Mom

Back to School: Five tips for getting, staying involved at your children's school

Positive parent involvement increases your child's success. As your child grows, your involvement might change but it remains important.

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Kelly Langston and family
Kelly Langston
Editor's Note: School starts for most Triangle kids next week. To mark the big day, Go Ask Mom will be offering some tips for parents over the next week. We'll start off with Kelly Langston, the mom of four and a member of the North Carolina PTA board of directors.

It is never too late to get involved in your child’s learning experience. Positive parent involvement increases your child’s success. As your child grows, your involvement might change but it remains important.

1. Commit to volunteering for your child’s school. Find your passion and offer your talents. There are many needs, and you are sure to find one that uses your strengths. If you ask your child’s teacher and/or join your PTA, you are certain to find the right job with the right hours. This shows your child that he is important and you place a high value on their education. This also shows your child’s teacher that you support the education process and that you are committed to your child’s success. It is important that this involvement does not stop as your child enters middle and high school.
2. Talk to your child. As your child enters high school, she may act like they do not want to talk and that they do not care what you have to say. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your child wants to know what you think. As your child begins showing interest in the opposite sex, be open to discussing feelings, expectations and your values. Your child will talk about the opposite sex, it might as well be with you! Just keep talking…
3. Invite your child’s friends over. Encourage positive relationships from the very beginning. It is natural to schedule play dates for our younger child. However, we must continue to encourage our middle and high school child to invite friends into our home.
4. Know the issues and be an advocate. We are all busy with limited time. Find time to understand the issues affecting your child and do one small thing. Attend a school board meeting, write a letter to your representatives, schedule a conference – it all matters!

Collectively, with other parents, your efforts make a difference.

5. Talk about healthy choices during the early years. Food and exercise are easy topics to discuss with a young child, and these topics become the foundation for discussing the harder topics with an older child. When you create a climate of strong communication and the expectation of respecting one’s body, the difficult topics are NOT so difficult. The topics of drugs, alcohol and relationships become a normal and natural progression. Our teens are faced with an enormous amount of pressures. Be an “Askable Parent!”

Enjoy getting involved!

Kelly Langston lives in Greensboro and has been a PTA member for almost ten years and a volunteer working with children for almost 20 years. Kelly has served in various leadership roles at the local, county and state PTA levels. She is the mom of two kids in elementary school, one in middle school and one in high school.

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