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Putting in an appearance

children's school nativity play

It’s that time of year when your kids are likely to come home from school with a demand for a ‘shepherd’s costume’, or an invitation to the school carol concert. 


Regardless of their age or their protestations of it being ‘embarrassing’, your attendance at their school events is important.


This is harder than it used to be. Now it’s much more likely that both parents work and not necessarily in close proximity to your child’s school.  If you have more than one child, this could mean several events in the lead up to Christmas.


Whether your child’s school has a full-on Nativity play, a carol concert or something more secular like a school concert, the longer winter term is often the point when some kind of performance is presented. 


Alternatively, the school may decide to put on an exhibition of work, a school Christmas Fayre or a fund-raiser as part of their social responsibility. Whatever it is, you’ll be expected to attend.

Managing expectations

Of course, you’d like to be there, but it may not be possible for both parents to turn up.


Start by finding out what events will be on, get dates and times and start planning ahead.  This has the added advantage of jogging the memory of your kids that there has been a note in their schoolbag for more than a week, that they’ve forgotten to pass on!


If it’s not going to be possible for both of you to attend everything, rope in the grandparents and work out a rota so at least one member of the family attends each event.


Talk to the children, they may have a particular family member they want to come. But it’s important that they understand you all WANT to be there. 


As children get older they may say things like ‘You don’t need to come, it’s just a silly school concert’. But that doesn’t mean you should take them at their word. 


There will be a war going on inside them between being ‘cool’ and wanting their parents to see them perform, whether they’re the star of the show or manning a stall at the school fete.


If you remember your own schooldays, there was always at least one child whose parents didn’t (or couldn’t) put in an appearance.  Regardless of what they actually said, you all knew they were wishing their folks were there.


Book a half-day off work if you have to – although many employers are reasonably flexible during the festive season. 


Don’t leave your child wondering if you’re going to turn up, if you say you’ll be there; be there!