Being an involved parent #LibertyBack2School


We’ve reached a new milestone in our parenting career. Our firstborn started Grade 1 last week. How scary is that? Not only for him but for us too. Even though we’ve been through it many, many moons ago, it’s still scary to have to help your child through his first year of school. Especially since the syllabus has changed some and we have no clue what is what anymore. Scary for him because it’s something new and he has no idea what to expect. We have to help him learn, we have to help the teachers, we have to prepare him, have a plan in place for when things go wrong and protect his future. This is our duty.

As a parent, I want to ensure we start with good habits early on. That means being involved in his schooling, helping with homework, going to parent/teacher meetings, supporting him on the sports field. I know of so many parents that just send their kids to school and then they become the teacher’s problem. We need to be more involved in our children’s lives, in their school careers, if we want them to succeed.

I remember how disappointed I always was when I received diplomas at school and didn’t see my dad’s face in the crowd. Or how much I appreciated my mom struggling to help me with my homework. I vowed that I would drag Mark by the hair to every concert, sport event, diploma ceremony, ballet recital if he was ever reluctant to go.

I am dreading the day Matthew comes home with homework. Dreading it and looking forward to it. I’m sure I’m going to struggle with helping him. I’m sure he’s going to be teaching me more than I will be able to help him. But I’m also sure, he will look back at this time years from now and know that I was there. I have worksheets and resources saved to help me help him. I have some savings put aside for when I am unable to help him any longer and he needs a tutor. I am planning to take out an education policy for him (late I know) and his siblings so that there will always be funds available for the rest of their school careers. As parents, we need to secure a future for our children by ensuring that the kind of education they want (university, college, overseas studies) will be available to them, even if we’re no longer here. Liberty can help.

I want to be there for my children. I want them to know that they can count on me to be there for them. I want to ensure that their futures are secured. I want to be involved.



You can win a R2000 Woolworths voucher just by telling me how you plan to be an involved parent. Are you one? Do you have any tips and tricks for this first timer over here that worked? Have you prepared for the financial aspect of schooling?

T’s and C’s
Competition closes midnight on Sunday, 28 January
Open to South African residents only
Winner will be drawn at random

Good luck!

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45 thoughts on “Being an involved parent #LibertyBack2School

  1. Gaelyn Cokayne says:

    Even though I’m the step mom, ive always loved being as involved as possible in Z’s life. Her dad has always worked out the country on and off so couldn’t often attend school functions or participate in day to day life, and her mom seldom participates. Lucky for me – that meant I could go to whatever i wanted as be as involved as I liked! I am lucky in that for the past few years I haven’t worked, so had the time to attend day and night time functions. I have always made an effort to meet her teachers face to face at the start of each year, this is huge – building a relationship with the child’s teacher at the beginning of each year makes it so much easier to communicate as the year goes on, and address any concerns as they pop up without delay. Another thing we’ve always done is invite her friends for play dates and sleep overs, and arrange meet ups with the kids and their parents too. This gave us insight into who she spends her time with, and allowed us to build a relationship with the other parents, making us feel more comfortable allowing her to go to their houses.

    Financially we haven’t made any plans, but always make sure everything is paid immediately so that she’s never the child at school being sent home with final demand letters, or unable to attend tours or outings because we haven’t paid. She’s just started high school now and so it’s a little late to start policies, but for our new baby we will definitely consider some sort of savings portfolio for their education.

    • Monique Mentoor says:

      I commend my own parents for the sacrifices they made to have been able to send us to one of the best schools. However I wish they had put more emphasis on reading through the day’s notes every day or studying a few pages a day. This is where consistency and discipline would’ve started. I managed to pass well throughout my school career with very little studying or exam preparation. However it caught up to me at varsity. The kids that weren’t so clever were suddenly doing better at university because they had mastered the art of consistency and doing a little bit every day. It was impossible to cram 2 textbooks the night before – the volume was too much. I still haven’t learnt this discipline and haven’t achieved half of what I’m capable of but vowed that I would raise my children differently. They will do a little every day. My 5year old has started grade 00 this year. 1 week into the term and already I have the different themes for the term on the refrigerator door and we find out something new every day. We are very serious about our daughter’s education and her future and also forego treats to be able to invest into a Liberty Educator policy every month.

  2. Candice Esben says:

    Our firstborn is only 3 (going on 30 haha) but I knew before having children that I’d always be an involved parent. So much so that I resigned from my day job almost 2 years ago to raise him. The early years in a child’s life are important. They learn & develop so much I just couldn’t and didn’t want to miss out. Imparting, teaching and even learning from him during these early stages of his life is wonderful and right now as involved as it/ I can get (he’s not at a crèche/ daycare yet). When he does go to crèche/ school, this will certainly not change. I’m already excited about that phase, as daunting as it seems.
    Unfortunately we haven’t done much in the savings department. It started off good, we got a bank account for him and the plan was to transfer money into this account monthly but then life happens. We probably should’ve set up a debit order of sorts or tried a different account. Or even a different savings plan all together. We learnt from it and now have to start from scratch (for him and the little brother on the way).

  3. Faziela says:

    Best of luck with your little one in Grade 1! I am trying my best to be an involved parent and my Lil one is only 3. He’s been at play school for 2 years now and I always try my best to be involved, from creating a personal relationship with his teacher to recreating a classroom environment at home.

    My aim is to build him a cohesive village to ensure that he is the best version of himself possible

  4. Marie says:

    Listen! Listen, LISTEN to what a child has to say. Involved parents let their children really know they are actively listening to what they try to tell.
    When children have something important (to them) to say, or has strong emotions or feelings or a problem, it’s important for them to feel that their parents are really listening. It helps children if they know that their feelings matter and their parents listen to what they have to say.
    If a parent do not really listen eagerly or pay attention to the little stuff when they are still small and eagerly telling everything, they won’t talk to their parents about the “big stuff” anymore when they are teenagers.

  5. Celeste says:

    What an exciting time for you guys. You are most certainly correct with getting help to help you. But you’ll make it. And thank you for wanting to be so involved. The school system is not always ideal but with parents involvement it makes for a winning combination. Good luck too. Most of all, enjoy it.

    My first born is grade 11 this year and all throughout his school career (and my girls) the husband and I had to redo school. The curriculum has changed that much. I can proudly say that our effort has pulled off. He got a high school scholarship because of his academics at primary school. Obviously his smart brain did the trick but lots of effort on our part helped. My best advice is to get involved and to listen to your kids even when they’re not saying anything.

    Unfortunately we can’t attend all kids meetings and events because it often clashes but communication is key. Some proper planning and diary management has to happen. We often laugh at how their activities takes more space in my diary.

    The financial planning is often a nightmare. All the last minute items they need the day before they have to have it. That’s where an emergency fund comes in. Especially January every year. They have everything they need even before school closes December, and I check this before the holidays officially start, yet somehow they come with last minute requests or things they forgot. So that stash comes in handy all the time.

    In a nutshell, PLAN. Whether it is time allocated to homework, learning exactly what it is they are learning or financially to aid you when you experience shortfalls. Be involved and be present.

    PS: It’s never too late to invest in your kids future.

  6. Alet says:

    Oliver was supposed to start Grade 1! He is currently in hospital recovering from a horrible rash and unknown viral infection! Thankfully my besties little one has gone to grade 1 (same school).

    My top tip for working moms to assist their little ones at school is to teach them how to plan and organise their tasks. For us, it is second nature to plan and coordinate. But it is something so vital – the sooner they learn, the better for them!

    All the best with the new school ventures

  7. ragmat Baron says:

    I am a single parent to a 7 year old. I am very involved in my daughters schooling career but she tends to want a lot of attention from me because I am the only one she can ask for help. I have learnt to become very patient for her and to put aside time when i get home to listen to her and ask her how her day was and to help with homework

  8. MamaCat says:

    He is such a cutie, and I can see you chose a sensible school with a sensible uniform, that you can buy in more than one place. You are already on the right track.
    If he does not already know, then tying shoelaces is a big thing.
    We also started G1 this year, and as a parent you need to be fully involved, in that you need to know what is going on, so you can help them. However, you do need to hold yourself back from taking over. This was something I had to learn last year.
    A set routine is great. It helps them wind down in the afternoon.
    Build your Mom network so you help each other.
    Just love them…they usually don’t need much more than your love.
    On the financial front, life insurance is good to have, and if you can afford to, plan in all the things they will need should you die while they are still dependent (education, cars, place to live, etc.).
    Policies is not my thing but you do need a plan. Also, if you have a little extra, ETF on the JSE is a good way for long term investing, if you have the courage.

  9. lisa says:

    my biggest part of being involved in my 3 year olds life (she has been at school since 6 months) is to ask questions – I take 10 minutes every evening after we have read stories where I lie next to her on her bed and ask her how her day was, what was her favourite and least favourite part, who she played with and what they played, what they learnt etc etc. she absolutely loves the time we spend chatting and even asked Daddy to leave us alone so we can chat. I find even though she is still little it keeps us connected and show her how interested I am in her day. she always asks me all the questions back – its so special.

  10. Simone says:

    Being a mom of four (eldest also started Gr. 1 this year!), we have quite the busy household. But since #4 was born last year, we have actually scheduled out time daily for each child. Each parent gets two children per day to spend uninterrupted time with. It’s crazy how much calmer they are when they feel loved and LISTENED to. We love our big family and we love being involved parents!

  11. Anthea O'Neill says:

    I like to think that I’m an involved parent in so many ways! And I have sooo many tips for you, Mamma! The most important thing to remember is that you’re not going to get it right all the time – sometimes your cupcakes for bake sale will look inferior to the other moms, sometimes you’ll forget dress up day, sometimes you’ll be too tired to do ALL the homework! It’s OK.

    The best thing you can do is to get to know the teacher and to work with her not against her. Support what she does at school so you’re on the same page, check the message book every single night because they don’t always remember to give you ALL the newsletters! And mostly, just listen every single day to what happened at school. This is how I stay involved as a parent 🙂 All the best with this big year ahead!

  12. Lot says:

    I have always been involved in my daughter school career. From.assisting with homework and projects to do tuitions when I het home. I have helped her breakdown notes, find easy study methods as well as been a support when it came to challenges of high school. My childs education means the world to me and she is the future so working hard as a parent to help her reach her goals and destinations us my priority.

  13. Charmaine Balraj says:

    I get very involved in all my kids school activities. I try to attend meetings. I assist with homework. I go to the library. I have 3 kids going school so i try my best to help all . All are important. When i miss school meetings i go to school and speak to the teachers.its good to make parent friends.i check message book with little one. Other 2 have circulars. Yes i have my days too. Im not perfect. I try my best. Cos hubby works away from can be difficult especially if u have 3 kids going 3 differnt schools

  14. Lynn Botha says:

    This year I have a Grade 1 and a Grade 2.. yikes so my head is already spinning trying to remember who wears PT clothes on which days and who has sport on what days – I am going slightly nuts. I have a full time job, and as much as I wish I could be more involved, I try the best I can. My kids go to aftercare after school, and I am so grateful that they are able to do their homework there – supervised. I don’t know how working parents find the time to do this. We get home after 5, then its dinner, bathing (although that’s going to be knit one skip one with the water restrictions lol). And my kids are exhausted and in bed by 19h:30 for the latest. So this year we are going to have to find sometime on the week-end to do some extra homework. Thankfully Grade 1last year wasn’t too bad for my daughter.. she was focused. My son.. mmmmh, that’s a whole other ball game.. he is more focused on friends and fun. So I am going to have to work harder with him. Thankfully I have a great relationship with his teacher (same teacher as my daughter had last year, so im hoping for great results.. lets hope my sanity holds 🙂

  15. Reshika says:

    My son is in grade 11 already. I am a single mom so savings for his future have been tough. Although I have worked, I am now working from home so I can be there for him during these most important years of his educational career. I think that my support has helped him a lot as he is now an A student. He is in the process of applying for bursaries now.
    Being there for your child is the best thing you can do. Help them understand their failures and move on.

  16. Bonita says:

    I attend all school meetings and functions. Also keep a positive attitude about school when talking to my Gr R son about school. Meet the teacher and stay as involved as I can with whatever he needs to practice or work on to improve

  17. JP says:

    I try and be as involved as possible, but it is sometimes difficult with working late. If there are school functions, I try and attend, and make at least some of the parent meetings. Thankfully I can rely on my wife there as well. We definitely need to start getting on board with the financial side of further education, that is a huge stresser with 2 kids.

  18. Bongiwe Mavimbela says:

    I’m involved in all aspects of my child’s education, as a part time student myself I use that to my advantage of getting her interested in her education, we encourage each other to finish off the school work. I’ve recently took out an education plan for, started saving for her education, though I would have liked to have started saving for her as soon as she was born, things didn’t go my way.

  19. Marilyn cecilia govender says:

    I am a gran ma to two with on e school . an when I visit I am always Bering very creative although i make as if we playing but with show an tell 4th possibilities r endless I let her creative sid3 come out an mum an dad so proud of 🙂 a creation s

  20. Venean says:

    Being involved really takes a lot of intentional parenting, because this year my daughter is in Grade 6, and yes we sit with her homework and check everyday. I’ve just applied for all my leave and we have a savings plan in place. But at this stage its so much more than that. It’s harder to carve out the time to talk about just general school things, especially with my toddler. Just to chat about how she is with all thats going on. We are still finding our feet in terms of our routine BUT IT IS KEY to a successful home in my opinion. We don’t function without routine. So as far as possible – try to keep the boundaries of your routine. Do fun stuff as part of your routine and things that keep your relationship more than just, did you pack your socks? You have swimming tomorrow. How was the English test. I think this allows you to be so much better at supporting your kids with school work too.

  21. Carla LeeChing says:

    I am fortunate enough to be a stay-at-home-mom. It definitely has its challenges and I have days where I wish I had a job to escape to, but the truth is, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I can be there to fetch my kids from school, take them to extra murals and help with homework. I look at the workload my Grade 2 son already has and I don’t know how full time working parents do it!

  22. Vanessa Cousins says:

    Being a mum of an 18 year old boy having just matriculated and a step mom to a daughter, whom I raised and is now 27 who has a 6 month old daughter, Amaya. The advice I can give you is really try have an education policy in place. Don’t push your kids to the point where you are making all their decisions and they must just follow suit or else. Let them grow as an individual. Provide them with love and stability because if those two are in place, all else will follow accordingly. If i had done differently I wouldn’t change a thing. Both kids have grounding, respect and compassion for others.

  23. Ayesha says:

    Save from day one, no matter how small you think the amount is, it will make a huge difference when you need to pay for their education, inflation is making prices really crazy. Spend time with your child, reading to them and doing homework with them.

  24. Irfaan says:

    I plan to have a good relationship with my child’s teacher and to work together with them to ensure my child progresses. I also will go out of my way to make time to do homework with my child.

  25. stephanie says:

    My daughter started Grade RR this year and i am lucky to be a stay at home mom, ive made sure to meet and have a communication base with her teacher, also she does get a report every 2nd term which is great cause i get to see on what skills we can work on whether its hand/eye coordination etc, also we have one on one time when i pick her up from school and we talk about her day and if everything went okay, She was also attending speech therapy and i find reading to her every night has really helped improve her vocabulary , also whats great is you get according to age/grade work books from Crazy store, CNA which is also a nice thing to do with the kids, We have started this year with saving for our daughters education,

  26. Nazarene says:

    Putting your kids in private schools and sending them off to extra muruals all good but not been involved in the whole process becomes a big stumbling block in your kids future. Although my two girls attend afterschool i make sure im 110% involved in everything. I want them to know im more invested in they future. I am an open book, before supper we sit down one on one and discuss they day, they teachers, they friends, who did what, how was they lunch, did they make someone feel special today at school, was there a subject or essay or lesson they did not understand, I ask them to read to me everyday, I put up new words on our chalkboard in the kitchen and ask them to find the meaning then use that word the whole week in new and different ways, im on the school board and opt for the school fundraiser as I want to invest in my child receiving a good education, I dont want to put pressure on them as your school years should be memorable and enjoyable. By spending that time with your kids really makes a huge difference in they home and school enviroment.

    • Nazarene says:

      Putting your kids in private schools and sending them off to extra muruals all good but not been involved in the whole process becomes a big stumbling block in your kids future. Although my two girls attend afterschool i make sure im 110% involved in everything. I want them to know im more invested in they future. I am an open book, before supper we sit down one on one and discuss they day, they teachers, they friends, who did what, how was they lunch, did they make someone feel special today at school, was there a subject or essay or lesson they did not understand, I ask them to read to me everyday, I put up new words on our chalkboard in the kitchen and ask them to find the meaning then use that word the whole week in new and different ways, im on the school board and opt for the school fundraiser as I want to invest in my child receiving a good education, I dont want to put pressure on them as your school years should be memorable and enjoyable. By spending that time with your kids really makes a huge difference in they home and school enviroment. I should say im like a single parent, they dad works away from home and they see him every six months for two weeks, i know it has a huge impact in my life and in my two girls especially when there are activities or meeting at school or functions, getting to see both parents and then just me attend, but I make sure I dont miss a single function, parents meeting ect, children emotions are all over the place especially as they grow up, dont ignore the signs, dont push then away, or shut them up, when they asking 100 of the same questions, give them those unexpected hugs, and always uplift them telling them they doing a good job ect.

  27. Anusha Naidoo says:

    I am a absolutely involved parent for my daughter , I had to raise her on my own as my Husband passed on when she was very little, she never knows what its like to have a dad, I play two roles, despite tremendous responsibilities I ensure that I am beside her every step of the way, always encouraging, inspiring her to be the best she can be. Its not easy on a single income and being a mom and a dad is demanding but I will continue to do the best and provide for my daughter from education to all her other needs.

  28. Adele says:

    I try to be as involved as I can in my sons life, hes only 2 and a half at the moment, so we still have a while to go before “big school”, but I love doing crafts with him and taking him to different activities… I want him to know that we want to be there for the first goal he scores in soccer and the plays he puts on at school! Its so important for them to know that we are interested in what they do and the big milestones they go through

  29. Juwayra says:

    Being a mom of 3 where the eldest just started high school, makes being involved in everything very difficult. On weekdays we do homework together and every other Friday we take a walk to our local library to pick books to read. My older two likes to compete to see who reads their books finished first.
    I make it my duty to ask about their day at school and what topics they discussed in class.

  30. Tami says:

    Volunteer at the school if you can and keep your ears open to what is going on. If that isn’t an option, read all the letters but remember to read between the lines. More important than this is to listen to what your child is saying and, especially what they are not saying. Watch their behaviour and if anything raises the alarm, seek intervention as fast as possible.

  31. Lerise Jasmin says:

    I am definately an involved parent. The whole schooling thing has become so daunting nowadays. Back in the day I dont remember getting as much homework as the junior kids get. Im involved because I go to all parent meetings. Every day i sit with my sons after school and do 2 hrs of homework despite the fact Iv just come back from a long tedious day at work. Whilst doing this Im busy trying to put a balanced meal together. Nobody said it would be easy but all i can say it is worth it when I see the results of my kids.

  32. Carol says:

    My daughter is now in Grade 9 and I always make sure that I have quality time for her in the afternoons when she needs help with her homework. My son started Grade 1 this year and the difference is huge between the grades and he does not understand yet why I spend so much time with his sister in the afternoons. I have now divided my time equally between them and sit and watch tv and play games with my son in the afternoons.

  33. Anne Potgieter says:

    Read to your kids every night from tiny. Bake cupcakes and ice them in the colour they are learning at Creche that week. Play educational games – they can’t be given to kids to keep them busy – they need parents too! Go to every school function that you can. Make sure the teachers know you and offer help as much as possible. Be protective – at least your kids will know they are loved and feel secure. My 19 year Old got all of this and I now can track her phone – not because I don’t trust her but because times have changed and I need to know where to start looking for her if necessary. She calls me thru the day just to tell me what’s happening at work or on the road. She knows she always has a safe place. And that’s because we were involved parents all her life

  34. Loveitha Ramjiyavan says:

    I’m a very involved parent in my child’s life and education as I believe that the parent is the first teacher and role model to kids. I teach my son school work, social etiquette, manners, religious culture, library visits and so on. I think up fun educational activities. I am involved in the play dates and provide snacks. My son is already included in baking, gardening, arts and crafts etc with me. I get feedback from his teacher as to how he is progressing at school. I even join him in play time at home as he is the only child. My son childhood is something I wont get back so make the most of the time with him and I’m involved in every aspect of it 👍 I believe I’m making memories with my son that are priceless and cost nothing but the bonding time leaves him feeling loved, secure, wanted, cherished & protected. I am not a perfect parent but I try to do the best I can. I don’t ever want to miss out on any of my son’s life as he is a dream come true after many miscarriages and countless prayers.

  35. Teresa Southgate says:

    I am an involved involved grandparent to my 6year old granddaughter Lily Summer . I was looking forward to her first day of big school and I just had this sense of pride and abundant love for this gift of love who was starting her academic journey. She loves snails,caterpillars and her cat Yorichi and her dog Anna.Fortunately she attended preschool and the transition wasn’t traumatic like other kids. Being a very confident child she politely just left us hanging at the classroom door. We do lots of reading and arts and crafts when she sleeps over and is very reluctant to go home to her mom. I believe that you need to spend quality time with your kids especially where reading is concerned. My dear Lilybellz, I love you so much and I hope and pray that you will strive to be the best that you can be.

  36. Mariska says:

    Wow. Where to start? There is so much to say. Lets start with my teen pregnancy. I was 16 and pregnant. Not something that went down too well with my boyfriend’s (now husband) parents. Sadly we had to consider everything, i was still in school and my husband was at varsity and we had no income. Both still living by our parents. After a long conversation, We decided to make it work. We both dropped out of school and varsity. Today, we have three incredible chilren and we have been together for 13 years. I have never had a job that pays a salary but i wouldnt give up my stay-at-home mommy privelege for anything. Our eldest just turned 9 and she is in grade 4 this year. For three years in a row she has been in the top 5. Hard work and a great support system has been very rewarding. I am over-the-top involved with my childrens education and all aspects of their lives. We take walks together, talk about our day, i let them read me a bedtime story just to encourage reading. We play educational games together. I make sure that all homework is correct and if theres a mistake, i explain why sothat she can understand and not make the same mistake again.
    The first few years in a childs life is so important. Embrace it. Invest in your children. The time goes by SO fast and sooner rather than later, they will be adults. Enjoy each and every second with your babies. ❤❤❤

  37. Lizelle Van Rooyen says:

    Wished I started to put money away before I was even married… but we do alot of educational play, and I always bring math into every day task. Eg I bought 3 chocolates, u get 1. How many does mommy have… lol

  38. Ginette Potgieter says:

    Being a full-time working mom brings many challenges and feelings of guilt in being as involved as we would like. But unfortunately for us to give our kids the opportunities they deserve both my husband and I have to work. Despite this, my priority is my children. I make sure at every opportunity I can to support them at school events and to ensure every school task is done, such as homework, sport prep, you name it. So to do this i have my calendar printed out for each month with plenty space for me to write every important thing that is happening as well as if any prep needs to be done from my side. I dont want my children to ever feel disappointed that I am not there for them. If, on the odd occasion, it’s impossible for me to be available I always sit with them to make them understand how much I wish I was there and how proud I am of them…

  39. Ayesha says:

    Taking an interest in your all your child does is an important part of being an involved parent. This includes meal times where you discuss their day. Mornings can be difficult done make it a point to make sure we have dinner together allowing us time to chat so that our child knows that we are involved and interested. Take an interest in your child’s interests. No matter how mundane or boring it may seem to you as an adult.

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