The senior school years often throw up a whole lot of hurdles for parents. Firstly we need to consider the cost of uniforms, whether the kid’s shoes are cool or not, we need to look at school transport, meals, and financing their trips. It can seem like a time where you need to be a mummy machine and can be exhausting.
One thing to try and remember though is that this stage in their life is more than just education as you see it. These years are when they will become independent, their personalities will develop, and they will probably start to suffer their first heartbreaks.
If we are honest, most children aren’t going to want their parents hanging about at school too much. However, there are ways you can support their education without getting too in their face.
Firstly, if you can make the time then drive your children to school or, better still, collect them after school. It may sound silly but taking public transport to school every day is quite a pressure. Also, these moments where you are in the car together often give you a little time to chat and share worries or concerns. You can monitor their moods a little and notice if there are any changes.
Often schools will ask parents to help out where they can; this could be volunteering as a class assistant or, perhaps you could help with a school trip. There are some pretty impressive school trips to Iceland, London, France and other countries, so not only would you get to spend a little time with your child, but you could also enjoy another country. If you are going to help out at school, you will need to have background checks done. You also need to respect the privacy of your child, don’t be lurking behind their locker every 5 minutes.
Support everything they do while at school and talk to the teachers as often as you can, if your children are on a sports team or in the play then go and watch all the events you are allowed to view. Life can get busy, but your role is to be there, supporting their education whenever you can.
You also need to remember that your child spends a lot of time with their teachers, so it is important to listen to the other adults that have an interest in your kids. A teacher is there to support you, but this doesn’t work if you don’t respect them. Listen, learn from them and trust them to do the right thing for your family.
The next few years are going to be tough, especially if you have a few children! Take plenty of time out to be there and if you can’t take a lot of time out, then make sure you are there for the most important moments. Education is so much more than just maths, English and science. Be a part of that journey. They will love you even more for it.