Staying Actively Involved
The more involved you are in the daily lives of your children, the more likely they are to do well in school and get along with friends. You’ll also feel more in touch with them, and better able to recognize trouble when it crops up. Getting more involved means finding activities to do regularly with your child that the two of you enjoy. It doesn’t have to take money or a lot of time.
In fact, brief, meaningful activities each day are probably best.
Activities To Share
• Playing cards
• Cooking or crafts projects
• Playing video or board games
• Doing jigsaw puzzles
• Going to the movies
• Following a sports team
• Playing sports
• Hiking, fishing or camping
• Surfing the net
With young children at home, set aside regular time to give your son or daughter your full, sole attention. Get on the floor and play with him; learn about her likes and dislikes; tell them that you love them. You will build strong bonds of trust and affection that will make it easier for you to steer them away from risky behavior in the years ahead.
What Else To Do
• Get to know your children’s friends by taking them to and from afterschool activities, games, the library and movies.
• Invite your children’s friends to join your family for special outings or events.
• Volunteer for school activities like dances or trips where you can observe your children with their peers.
• Put your television and computer where you can keep an eye on what your children are seeing. (You may want to set up viewing guidelines.) Also familiarize yourself with their favorite radio stations, CDs and tapes.
• Familiarize yourself with the policies and education programs regarding alcohol and drug use at your child’s school. Read any materials given out.
• Make sure your children are well versed in the reasons to avoid alcohol, tobacco, drugs and sex. Waiting for them to bring up the subjects may mean being too late. In a recent poll, for example, two-thirds of fourth graders said that they wished their parents would talk more with them about drugs.
When children enter middle school or junior high, they’re suddenly little fish in a big pond, and they want to fit in. At this time, your children may make you feel you embarrass them in front of their peers. But at the very time they are pulling away from you to establish their own identities, they actually need you to be more involved than ever.