Active parental participation significantly enhances a child’s learning, emotional growth, social development, and overall well-being. When parents are engaged in their child’s education, they provide valuable support and reinforcement for classroom learning. The child will develop a sense of responsibility and accountability for their learning and understand the importance of completing homework and doing self-revision.

Showing genuine interest in their child’s learning will also foster better communication. This improved communication can lead to a deeper understanding of the child’s needs, concerns, and progress in school, and thus giving an insight into the personalised support necessary for the child to grow. This is especially beneficial for children with learning difficulties, to help them address their specific needs and challenges.

More importantly, active parental participation not only benefits the child but also yields advantages for the parents themselves. Through active involvement in their child’s education, parents can enhance their self-assurance and fulfilment in their parenting role. The shared commitment to a child’s education can also strengthen family bonds and lead to more open and positive communication between family members.

When starting your journey as an active parent, you must keep in mind that children often model their attitude and behaviour after their parents. When parents demonstrate a keen attitude towards learning, their children are more likely to develop a similar mindset. “When parents care enough about their child’s learning, their child will care enough to learn.” Hence, step 1 to active parenting is being a role model.

How to be an A+ Model?

Active parental involvement tips by Mr Matt Lim, Caring Teacher Award Winner
Photo: Mr Matt Lim, Primary School Teacher, Winner of the 13th Caring Teacher Award

Being a role model for their children goes far beyond words; it is an action-driven commitment that profoundly shapes a child’s character, values and aspirations. Parents serve as the most influential and enduring role models in their children’s lives. By consistently modelling positive traits and behaviours, parents will impart crucial life lessons and empower their children to navigate the complexities of the world with confidence, resilience, and a strong moral compass.

Here are some recommendations for parents to excel in this aspect, just remember R.E.S.T:

1. Realistic expectations: When parents have realistic expectations for their child, they convey a message that they acknowledge their child’s individual abilities, strengths and limitations. Realistic expectations foster a sense of self-worth and self-esteem, as children feel that their efforts are valued and attainable goals are within reach.

2. Effective communication: Make interactions two-way. Parents should encourage their children to share their questions, concerns and ideas, and practise active listening when doing so.

3. Screen time: When parents set reasonable limits on screen time, they promote a healthy and balanced approach to technology use. This limitation encourages children to engage in a variety of activities, including physical exercise, reading, and face-to-face interactions, which are essential for their overall well-being and development.

4. Triumph: Celebrating their child’s achievements reinforces the importance of acknowledging and appreciating personal successes, whether big or small. The celebration can take the form of praise, encouragement or tangible rewards, and it will boost a child’s self-esteem and motivation.

Fostering A Positive Engaging Learning Environment

Step 2 in being an active parent is to cultivate a supportive and engaging learning environment. When your child feels connected and valued, they are more likely to be motivated, participate actively, and excel in their studies. Start building a positive space with these three considerations.

Active parental involvement tips by Mr Matt Lim, Caring Teacher Award Winner
Photo: Mr Matt Lim, Primary School Teacher, Winner of the 13th Caring Teacher Award

1. Relatable Content: Incorporating real-life examples and relatable content in lessons can engage students by showing the practical relevance of what they are learning. This makes the subject matter more interesting. Pay attention to the lingo and slang commonly used by students in their conversations and incorporate them into your teaching when appropriate, making the learning experience more conversational and less formal. This helps break down the traditional barriers that might exist in a parent-child / teacher-student relationship and creates a comfortable atmosphere where students feel understood and heard. This approach is more than just being trendy, it demonstrates that we respect and understand their world, fostering a sense of connection and making learning an enjoyable experience.

2. Varied Teaching Methods: Employing a diverse range of teaching methods caters to different learning styles and engage students effectively. One example would be getting students to grow melons to teach them the concepts of pollination and fertilisation. This unique activity transformed a potentially complex subject into an engaging, practical experience. Students were tasked with planting and nurturing the melon plants, and as the plants grew, they learned first-hand about the intricate processes of reproduction in flowering plants. They observed the role of pollinators and witnessed the growth of the melons. The hands-on project not only made the scientific concepts tangible but also left a lasting impression on the students.

3. Problem-solvers: Encouraging students to think independently and ask questions, it helps them connect with the subject matter and empowers them to become lifelong learners. During the growing of melons, students were presented various challenges like soil quality, weather conditions and pest issues. They had to think critically to overcome those obstacles and find creative solutions to ensure that their plants thrive. That encouraged experimentation: Students tried out various techniques, such as pollination methods, watering schedules, pest-control strategies. The hands-on experimentation fosters a spirit of innovation as students seek more effective approaches.

For educators and parents alike, it is all about having a genuine desire to know the children as individuals. Relationship building is an ongoing process, it takes time and effort. But the benefits of creating a supportive and engaging learning environment are well worth it.

Superheros Need Self-Care Too!

Active parental involvement tips by Mr Matt Lim, Caring Teacher Award Winner
Photo: Mr Matt Lim, Primary School Teacher, Winner of the 13th Caring Teacher Award

While we (parents and teachers) make understanding our children/students one of our top priorities, it is important to take note of our own needs. Recognise that self-care is a critical aspect of being an effective and emotionally healthy parent/teacher.

You cannot pour from an empty cup. There is nothing wrong in being intentional to prioritise your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Teaching can be emotionally taxing, so it is important to pay attention to signs of stress, anxiety, or burnout.

We do not walk this journey alone. Aspire to establish a network of supportive parents within your child’s school and engage with teachers as supportive partners. Collaborate and share insights, good practices and challenges. The interactions will provide a sense of camaraderie and can help you navigate common teaching issues more effectively and sustain your unwavering passion in making a difference.

This is in collaboration with Caring Teacher Awards 2024.

The Caring Teacher Awards is a biennial event that aims to acknowledge teachers in our schools who go beyond the call of duty, nurturing the holistic development of their students and ensuring their charges grow up to be confident, independent and resilient learners for our nation.

Started in 1996, the Caring Teacher Awards is organised by the National Institute of Education, Singapore with support from ExxonMobil Asia Pacific Pte Ltd and the Ministry of Education. Nomination for the award is now open till 12 January 2024 at www.cta.nie.edu.sg.

Learn more from Mr Matt Lim: Am I A Difficult Parent? How to Build A Positive Parent-Teacher Relationship

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