Becoming a Single Mother of four children seemed so overwhelming at first. I was lost and confused. I had no idea how I was going to make all four children realize they are the most important things in my life and will always be. I went from volunteering with the PTA and various activities at school to being the Mom who sends them in with bags of goodies or money to help with parties and events. I’m that Mom who shows up for their various celebrations in their classrooms all dressed up for work and no one knows me. It’s hard being that Mom and I’m sure it’s even harder being the children of that Mom. At the end of last year my 8 year old asked me if I’d be willing to promise to make more school events or lunches with them. She said she just felt sad but knows I have a lot to do. I totally understood her. I emphasized with her. I listened to her. I changed what I could.
So far this year I’ve made it a point to come and visit my children in their classrooms or cafeterias at least once a month. I make it a point to help them with any extra activities or events and I’m more outgoing with their friend’s parents so that they can establish those relationships. Today was a work from home day for me so I told my kids I’d be visiting them for lunch. Thankfully the elementary school and middle school are right next to each other, so I started at the elementary school at 10:50am and I was done at the middle school by 12:30. You can’t sit and eat with your middle schooler but you can at least visit with them in the office when you drop off goodies OR you can sign them out for a quick lunch together outside.
I know my oldest feels left out because he’s the oldest and doesn’t attend the same school as his sisters, but, two days after getting his braces on, he was so relieved to know he had a smoothie in the office waiting for him! My girls are usually lumped into being “The Girls” because they’re 14 months apart, so they love that their lunches with Mom were separate.
So…how do you get involved? Here’s a list of what I’ve found to help my children become successful in school and have the children feel I’m truly invested in their lives.
- Make sure the teacher knows you. Attend conferences, meetings, etc. Leave notes, emails, etc. Make sure you’re a team and your goal is your child’s success.
- Visit the school. Schools have open houses and curriculum nights. Children in elementary school are allowed to have guests for lunches. Visit. Be involved.
- Check your child’s homework. Confused? That’s okay! Let the teacher know. They don’t expect you to be perfect but open lines of communication will only help your child.
- Teach your child how to organize their items and their days. My children and I have set times we do things and they have set places to put their things down. This allows us to not stress when we are trying to find things for the upcoming day.
- Help your child STUDY! We have flashcards out the wazoo. My kids fill them out for any type of exam they have coming up. We go through them. They go through them with each other.
- Read the disciplinary procedures. Many parents argue points that are clearly laid out in a handbook. For instance, my 7 year old tries to CONSTANTLY wear sandals on P.E. days. So, I make her keep an extra set of sneakers and socks in her backpack so it doesn’t become a problem.
- BE INVOLVED! Children need BOTH parents to be involved. If a parent can’t be involved then have aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, great-grandparents, friend’s parents, etc. help out! You’d be amazed at how excited kids get just to have a friend’s parent say hi to them or say they’re going to take your picture to show your parents how happy you are!! The kids want to see YOU working together with their teachers. It will help knowing you’re all on the same page.
What are some other ways YOU get involved?! Check out this amazing resource for some other ideas…School & Family Life