Demi Owen, Nashville Rise Parent Captain
As a parent of four children attending three different schools, I understand that day to day life can get hectic. From home to school to work, I’m always running from one thing to the next. I understand that being busy can cause parents to become overwhelmed when keeping up with their child’s education. Good news! There is a simple approach to being involved that reduces the feeling of being overwhelmed.
Busy parents can advocate for their students in several simple ways. Personally, I have built many different practices into my daily, weekly and monthly routines that have helped me to ensure that my children are thriving and succeeding at school.
I’m a mother of four, part-time college student, and salon manager and hair stylist. Check out my top four tips busy parents can use to advocate for their students without being overwhelmed by it all.
1. Introduce yourself to your child’s teacher early in the year.
Due to schedule conflicts, busy parents cannot always attend open houses and activities, but it is important that the teacher knows you are interested in what your child is doing. By dropping in the school when you can and getting face to face time with the teacher, you show that you are and want to be involved in your child’s education.
With my children attending three different schools this year, this has helped me tremendously. The best time to do a quick drop in would be in the morning while dropping kids off or after school during pick up. If your child is usually a bus rider, set aside a day that is convenient for your busy schedule.
2. Establish a convenient line of communication with your child’s school.
Whether it is a call, text, email or letter, establishing your preferred method of communication with your child’s school is vital. I cannot always take a phone call, but usually, I can quickly respond to an email or text. By communicating my preference, I have eliminated a ton of worry and confusion.
3. Be aware of your child’s academic status.
Knowing when your child is supposed to receive graded papers, progress reports and report cards allows you to keep up with your child’s academic status during the school year. Nowadays, schools typically post these dates online, so set aside sometime to regularly check back for updates.
4. Ask your child about his or her day.
This is my favorite tip and one you can easily do on a regular basis. While riding in the car or eating dinner, I simply ask my children about their day. I learn a lot from their perspectives. They tell me about their classroom environment, interactions with teachers, if they are making friends, and if they are enjoying their school. It is important to pick a time when you aren’t busy and can give your full attention to the conversation. This tip is important for many reasons like addressing issues before they escalate, but it also an enjoyable way to share and talk with your children.
*Bonus tip to put these ideas in action: Use a calendar to get organized!
It may be easier than you think to accomplish all of these ideas. Consider using a calendar or planner to plot out important dates to remember. Once you prioritize your activities and dates, it will not seem impossible to complete each task.
Being organized allows me keep up with my busy lifestyle while also having time for my family and not getting burned out. On my calendar, I list my scheduled teacher appointments, drop in days and school activities. This practice has allowed me to keep my schedule open for the activities I previously scheduled.
You may not be able to attend all school activities, but by being present when you can and practicing these simple tips, you are already on your way to becoming a stronger advocate for your child. Happy advocating!