• It Means a Lot to Your Child When You Show Up at School Events

    Treat school events like birthdays where the absence of parents can be painful for any child.
    by Rachel Perez .
It Means a Lot to Your Child When You Show Up at School Events
PHOTO BY iStock
  • I used to find it weird when my son started first grade, and every time there's a school event, he'd point me out to his classmates. "Hey, that's my mom!" The introvert in me would become shy with the attention, but it made me happy. I always made it a point that he'd see me, especially when I arrived late.

    My son's in junior high now, and at his age, his parents are merely spectators for most of his school events. Unless it's a family day or parent-teacher consultation, kids in junior high don't need their parents as much as they did when they were in first grade. But my son still looks for me in the crowd of parents and guardians in a school event. Always. (Unless he doesn't want or need me there because teenagers.)

    Eventually, I didn't really mind to be one of the most known faces in his school, you know, as his mom. And I treasured the fact that my son never stopped pointing me to his friends. It made me think of the many ways how our physical presence makes a huge difference in our children's lives.

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    You make your kids feel important.

    When you show up at your child's activities, you are telling your child that he or she matters to you. Even when teenagers say it's okay if you skip it or they don't care if you show up, don't fall into that trap. They do care — they want their mom or dad to be there.

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    It helps your child feel he belongs.

    I used to be a single parent. During his nursery and kindergarten years, I'd often ask his grandparents to cover for me, and it meant a lot to him. My theory was he probably wanted to stress that he has a complete family. There were not many solo parents or co-parenting then, and not many adults (and by association, kids as well) understood.

    It motivates your child to give or show his best.

    Your presence has a calming effect and may improve your little one focus. Just the sight of you can help motivate your child give his best effort and do great. It's your little one's chance to show off, not to everyone in the audience, just his parents. Applause from other people is good, but what matters is your hands clapping for your kids.

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    Looking back at my childhood, I remember volunteering my parents to join family day games, and it meant a lot that they were there and play. We don't always win the games, but it doesn't matter. Eventually, I got tired and became selective of the events I'd want my parents to attend, but they still did when I asked them to.

    I used to feel sad for a child who brings his yaya to a parent-teacher meeting. I try to think back when I was a child if it was a big deal that classmates had brought with him, not his parents, but titas older siblings, and yes, even yayas, attend school functions.

    I ended up thinking, "Yes, it is a big deal," but also, "He has someone to cheer him on. That's what matters." I won't allow myself to judge because I was (or would be) guilty of the same offense.

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    I'm still not as active as other parents are in school, and my son doesn't need me to be, but I show up. Oh, and he had recently pointed out his 'dad' to his friends. It was the first time we heard him refer to my husband as his dad. It was a sweet surprise. I know now why my son does it. He is happy to see his parents make time for him. 

    It's not always easy or doable to take time off work, but we try. And sincerely trying to be there for every game, recital or exhibit already means a lot in our children's books.

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