Options for Youth: Parent involvement through childhood ... priceless
Throughout my career as a teacher, coach, high school principal and superintendent, parents have asked "What can we do as parents to help our children be successful?"
Based on my experiences, the answer has not changed over the past 39 years: Be involved in your child's activities as much as possible. My experience also points out that parents are very involved early in their child's life, but become less involved as their children reach middle school and above. We know as our children get older, they become more independent and appear to require less from us, but the truth is parent involvement is still very important. Through this article, I will share some ideas where parent involvement can make a difference and encourage greater success for all children.
• Involvement in Schools: The best investment in school success is being the child's first and most important teacher. Parents providing meaningful learning activities at home for their children prepare, support and enhance what is taught at school. Volunteering to assist with school activities and serving on school-site committees when possible supports your child as well as many other children at the school. Schools in Colusa County are extremely fortunate to have such an outstanding level of support from parents, businesses and community members.
• Involvement in Activities: Extracurricular activities, such as sports, youth organizations, music, arts, etc., are extremely important to the growth of our children. These activities promote healthy social growth and self-confidence. They provide positive alternatives for our youth and encourage them to stay out of negative behaviors. Parents who volunteer in these activities not only support their child's involvement, but support many other children as well. In today's society, parent volunteers make it possible for today's youth to enjoy many of the activities we enjoyed as youth.
• Know Your Child's Involvement: Knowing who your child is involved with and what activities they are doing is critical to keeping them safe from negative behaviors and on track for success. Keeping tabs on friends and activities is certainly an important responsibility in parenthood, but more importantly it communicates to your child that you care about their welfare. Don't be shy about checking your child's involvement in the world of social networking on the Internet. This is the new form of communication among our children and it warrants serious parent involvement.
There is no better investment than in our youth. Your commitment, whether you are a current parent, a grandparent or an interested community member, to support our youth will make an immediate difference in someone's life. That difference will be felt for a lifetime and will provide an excellent role model for tomorrow's volunteers.