Our goal at YOU Parent is to provide tools that help you raise your child to the best of your ability through parent engagement. But what is parent engagement?
Parent engagement is a collection of activities you can do with your child that aid his or her core needs: social, emotional, physical, and academic development. From birth through high school and beyond, there is always an opportunity to engage with your child, but some ways are easier than others.
Here are eight parent engagement activities that you can do with your child. Each activity addresses one of the four core needs.
Easy: Sit down for a family dinner and talk about your days. What was the best thing that happened all day? What was the worst? What did each of you learn that day?
Difficult: Have a few of your child’s friends over for dinner. Ask about their families, favorite subjects in school, and their hobbies. You can learn a lot about your child through his or her friends. Getting the kids to talk might be tough at first, but in the end it will demonstrate to your child that you care about his or her social life.
Easy: Tuck your child in for bed and lay beside him or her to cuddle for a few minutes before sleep. Show your love with a hug or squeeze.
Difficult: If your child is acting distant or difficult, confront him or her directly and don’t end the conversation until you know the real reason your child is acting that way. Confrontation is uncomfortable, especially if you’re not prepared for the response. But helping your child address a problem now can save his or her life later—especially if your child is dealing with depression, bullying, or other serious problems.
Easy: Talk a short walk with your child. Catch up on each other’s lives.
Difficult: Train for a 5K with your teen. Training might be challenging, but accomplishing something together is a memory you both will cherish forever.
Easy: Check your child’s homework each night and ask him or her to tell you about the work. How did your daughter get the answer to that math problem? Ask her to talk you through the formula or equation.
Difficult: Email the teacher to proactively communicate about your child’s progress. While sending an email isn’t difficult, taking the first step and reaching outside of your comfort zone might be. Don’t worry—teachers want to hear from you before there’s a problem, so you will be making a great impression.