Six Ways To Get Involved
Have you ever considered what your parenting style might be? In the early 1970s, development psychologist Diana Baumrind suggested there are three main types of parenting, while later research by Maccoby and Martin (1983) added a fourth. Match your style to those below.
Authoritarian parents set strict rules which they expect their kids to follow to a tee. They may not be open with explaining their reasoning behind the rules, but instead they believe that children should obey orders. They may be status- and obedience-oriented, with a "what I say goes" attitude.
This is generally considered by many to be the ideal parenting style. Parents are firm but fair, give reasons for their decisions and are open to negotiation, but expect a lot from their children in return. They're communicative and use positive reinforcement.
These kinds of parents may give in to their children easily and indulge their every desire, rather than setting rules. They're responsive rather than demanding. They're non-traditional and don't expect much in terms of maturity, but are generally also very close to their children. In fact, they may take on the role of friend and confidant more so than parent.
These parents are very hands-off. There isn't much communication between them and their children, and they're generally uninvolved in their kids' lives. They don't set many rules or demands, and they're also not very responsive to their children's needs.
Show how much you care about your child by following these great hands-on parenting suggestions.
Help with homework
Sit down with your child several times during the week to check in and see how they're progressing with their homework. This is a great way to spend some time with them and chat about a whole bunch of issues, such as what's going on at school or with their friends.
Volunteer at school
Offer your help in the canteen, in the classroom, on excursions or even at school camps so you can have a presence at your child's school and get to know their teachers and friends. Just remember to check that this is something your child wants before you go cramping their style! Remember to relax when you're there and take an interest in their lives without being too overbearing or demanding.
Coach a team
If your child has an interest in sport or a creative pursuit, get involved by volunteering your help as a coach or teacher. Even if you don't have the skills for the job, you could offer your services as the half-time snack provider or photography club assistant.
Invite your child into the kitchen and teach them how to cook. Sit down a few days before to work out what recipes you want to try — you could experiment with different themes or cuisines (e.g. Mexican, tapas or Japanese) or even plan a decadent three-course meal to get them really excited. Let your child take over the table decorating duties and give them plenty of leeway in the kitchen. This will not only let you spend more quality time with them, but will also allow you to teach some life skills.
Plan family days
Set aside one day every fortnight or every month to have dedicated family time. Mark it in your diary or calendar like you would for an important work meeting, and come up with fun ideas as a family. You could spend the day at the beach, go to a museum, science centre or art gallery, or even enjoy a bike tour around your suburb.
Go on an adventure
When was your last holiday together? If it's been a while, then it might be time to plan another! There are plenty of cost-efficient options to choose from, like camping at a quiet beach or going bushwalking. But make sure you choose a location that won't end up with you at one end of the resort and them at the other.