Friday, July 25, 2008

A Two-Way Street

The past few years that I have been driving my children to school or, when we were homeschooling, to activities, I have noticed an alarming number of parents driving with their heads bent to their shoulders, talking on their cell phones, while their children sit silently in the back seat.

The half hour before school, that time right before you leave your child to navigate alone in an often hostile world for six to eight hours, that time is precious.

It is a time to go over their supplies for the day, which helps them to learn to make a mental checklist of the daily things they need to do when they get older. Do you have paper and pencils? I know, just asking. Lunch? Gym uniform? Yes, I can smell it....I know it's in your backpack. How about that paper I signed for Mrs. Whatserface? No? Oooh...I think it's still on the counter....go get it.

From the time at the breakfast table to the time they are captive in your car, you have a wide-open opportunity to make sure things are going well for them socially. Take a minute to ask about the tiff her two friends got into. Inquire about the group project he's being forced to do by that mean technology teacher. See if playground time is going well. So often a child who is getting picked on will never mention it to a parent if the parent doesn't ask.

Send your child off to school every day with a few humorous tips that lets you know you care about how they behave. "Be Sweet, Champion the Underdog" is one of the phrases I like to say.
I believe it is important to not send your child out to face the world with absentminded wave of the hand because you are engrossed in a cell phone conversation with someone else.