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Listen to an Interview with Jennifer Cummings, M.Ed. includes school tips, ways to handle new school anxiety, and how to help your child succeed in school.

Learn How to Help Your Kids Succeed in School

 

This Month's Topic: Hoover Parents

About Jennifer Cummings

Ms. Cummings has a B.A.in psychology, and a M.Ed. in special education from Framingham State College in Massachusetts. She has been an elementary teacher in Massachusetts for almost 10 years, serving both regular education and special education students. She has taught grades 1,4, and 5.

"I believe that families' involvement in their child's education is one of the key ingredients to creating a successful school experience for children. Keeping parents informed about school-related issues helps parents and teachers work together for the best possible outcomes for their children. Learning together makes learning fun - for everyone!" - Jennifer Cummings. Contact her at A Note from the Teacher.



 
 
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Are You A Hover Parent? Take Our Quiz to Find Out!

Everyone knows at least one "hover parent"- the mom or dad who is always at the school, always at the soccer field, always leading the troop, and always present wherever their child is. While being involved in your child's life is definitely a good thing, as with all things, too much can be harmful to your child's development.

Not sure if you're a "hoverer"? Take the quiz below, keeping track of your answers to each question (for each question, choose the closest answer that describes yourself). Be honest!!

1. How many field trips or community activities have you been on with your child's class and/or after school group?

a. All of them
b. One or two
c. None

2. How often do you volunteer at your child's class?

a. I am at the school at least 3-4 days each week.
b. I come in or send things when the teacher asks for help.
c. I am never in the school.

3. How do you monitor your child's homework and projects?

a. I sit with my child through all of their work and help them with their work.
b. I check to make sure my child completed all of the assignments each night.
c. I let my child do all their work alone, since it is their work and not mine.

4. At a soccer game I am likely to be:

a. the coach
b. at every game
c. I go to a few games

5. I volunteer at school so I can:

a. Keep and eye on my child to make sure he/she is alright
b. Help out the staff and keep busy
c. I do not volunteer

6. If my child gets a bad grade on a test, I will likely:

a. Call the teacher and get an appointment to meet with them the next day, or as soon as possible.
b. Go over the test at home with my child to see where they made mistakes.
c. Ignore it. One bad test is no big deal.

7. Susie and Megan are usually best friends. However, they had a fight over lunch today and are mad at each other. Susie comes home crying because she says Megan said mean things about her. If you were Susie's parent, would you:

a. Call Megan's parents and tell them what their daughter said, demanding an apology.
b. Talk to Susie about what happened and give ideas for how to handle it tomorrow.
c. Let Susie and Megan work it out themselves, since kids do this all the time.

8. Overall, how much do you trust the individuals overseeing your child at school/ activities on a daily (or weekly) basis [think: coaches, teachers, group leaders]:

a. Not enough. I need to be there to protect my child.
b. Pretty much. I check in with them to keep an eye on how things are going.
c. Totally. I completely trust the judgment of the people I leave my child with for school, sports, etc.

9. As a parent, my outside activities include:

a. I have no personal activities; I do activities with my kids.
b. I have a couple of things I do without my children (lessons, meeting friends, etc.)
c. I have my own activities that are separate from my child's activities.

10. Overall, I believe that my job as a parent is to:

a. Protect my child and make life as happy for them as possible.
b. Give my child a happy, but realistic sense of life.
c. Show my child that life is difficult, so they need to be tough to get through it.

Okay- it's time to tally up the totals! Add up the number of A, B, and C answers you gave. If you're being honest, very few people will have answers all in one category, since every situation is different. However, by looking at the overall trend in your answers, you can get a clearer picture of your parenting tendencies:

Mostly A: If you answered with a majority of A's, then you definitely have "hover parent" tendencies. Getting involved with your child is great, but trying to protect them from everything in life isn't. Kids need to learn how to react to different situations themselves sometimes, without the direct interference of parents. That is how children learn the communication skills they will need throughout life. You need to learn to trust some of the people around you, such as teachers, coaches, and group leaders; you need to remember that these people wouldn't give their time if making a positive impact on children wasn't important to them. By giving your child a little more room, you'll still be a great parent, and you'll have a little more time, too!

Mostly B: Answering mostly B's on this quiz should tell you that you're invested in your child, but you still let them learn on their own. You are still around to keep an eye on things when your child needs you, but you're willing to let them have some freedom to grow and learn for themselves. It can be tough to watch your kids make mistakes, and sometimes you jump in when you shouldn't, but that's natural. You may question whether you do enough sometimes, or maybe not enough. This can be a hard balancing act for parents to follow, between too much and not enough, but keep it up! You're working hard!

Mostly C: If you answered mostly C's today, you need to have more direct influence in your child's life. Kids need space to learn on their own, but they also need guidance on how to make good choices in life. Children tend to make choices that have been influenced directly or indirectly by their parents, so be sure that you spend enough time with your child to let them know your attitudes, values, and expectations. Children don't need you to be around at every turn, but as a parent, you need to be sure that you're involved with your kids' lives in some way on a daily basis, and not just when things get really ugly. By taking some time now, you'll have a better understanding of what your kids are doing when you're not there to see them.

Whether you scored mostly A's, B's or C's on your quiz, there's always room for improvement when you're a parent! Take a few minutes to think about your relationship with your kids, what you want them to learn from you, and how you can help support them to be successful in life. Good luck and have fun with your kids!

More Child Education Resources:

US Dept. of Education

Homework Help

Helping Your Child Learn Math



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