Thursday, August 30, 2012

5 Ways to Build Community at Your Child's School

School starts for us next week, and I can hardly believe it! If you're newbie to the school scene, your child isn't the only one who may be having trouble making new friends.

There are so many benefits for you, your child, and their school, to being well connected.  So, without further adieu, here are five ways to build community at your child's school:

1) Join the PTA.  It's the easiest and simplest way to do something positive for your child's school and get to know people at the same time.

2) Take the bus to school OR start a neighborhood carpool.  Walk your child to their bus stop each morning and you'll get to know which neighbors in your area also have school aged children.   If you're feeling really generous, bring coffee for your neighbors while you wait for the bus.  This is simpler than it sounds: buy a carafe with disposable cups from your local drive thru coffee shop.  OR if you don't have a bus stop near you or can't make it to the bus consider organizing a neighborhood carpool and you'll be saving time, resources, and the environment all while getting to know your neighbors better.

3) Bring snacks to share at play times. If all the kids in your neighborhood arrive home from school around the same time - have enough snacks to share and make sure your kids are playing in the front yard.  Invite the neighbors to join and offer to watch them!

4) Take turns with other parents being unofficial before/after school yard duty.  At the end of the day at my daughter's school there are often many kids playing on the playground and most of the time each parent is there also watching just their individual child.  Consider trading off watching a few neighbor's kids as well while you let your own child play.  That way, less parents have to be sitting on the field while their kids' play.  Instead, they can be using the time to prep dinner or run errands so that they can be more engaged when their child is home with you.  Trading off means you'll get more time for these things, too.

5) Consider hosting a Back to School Bash.  It can be as informal as cookies and milk with a few neighbors to celebrate the first successful day back to school.

What about you? What ideas do you have for building community among the other parents at your school.  As always, I'd love to read your comments below!

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