You love your kids. You’ve spent all kinds of time over the summer having small or large adventures, going to sports practices and games, maybe taking a family trip or two — but now they’re headed back to school. Other than gathering at home at the end of the day, how are you planning to stay connected? We at Shea Homes® have listed a few ideas to ensure your relationship is as strong as ever, no matter where their education takes them.
“Plugging in” means everything from signing up for emails to making sure you have access to online classrooms and gradebooks. You may need to email your child’s teacher(s) or check at Back to School Night but find out how you can access programs like Parent Portal (Engaged) or Parent Portal (Infinite Campus), in addition to programs like Google Classroom and Khan Academy. Once you’ve done all the legwork, designate a time and place to check them daily! Not only will your children be amazed at how much you know about their classroom, but their teachers will love you for being informed.
Many of us lack the time to truly commit to an endeavor such as the PTA. Don’t worry — you can still find many ways to pitch in and help with your child’s school activities. Send a quick email to teachers, coaches, directors, and even school counselors. Be specific about how much time you can commit, what your availability is, and if you have any specific areas of interest. For instance, let them know if you can chaperone one field trip per year, help in the classroom one day per month, or send snacks/supplies once per semester for a certain number of students. Be clear with your own expectations! Once you have your task, incorporate your child in the process — even if it just means buying the supplies online together at the computer station in your kitchen.
From “love notes” in lunchboxes to scrawled postcard snail mail, use your own handwriting to communicate with your child and show how much you care. Parents often scoff — “why not just text my teen?” — but there is pure magic in receiving actual mail in their actual mailbox. Even better, use those notes (lunchbox, mailbox, or inbox) to ask an open-ended question that your child can join you on the patio or grab you in the stairwell to answer. Staying connected is as simple as asking “what’s the strangest thing that happened to you today?” or “who inspired you today?”
One last note on staying connected: It’s a good idea to make sure you have contact information for your school district’s mental health services. Living in a strong community means you can also depend on your neighbors — and what better way to stay connected to your children than connecting with their friends? For questions about our special community at Solstice, feel free to chat with the Shea team.