Communicate with your child’s school:
- Talk to your child’s teacher and explain that he/she may have to leave school in order to go to an audition or job. Let the teacher know how important your child’s education is to both you and your child.
- Create a plan in advance for how your child will make-up work and complete assignments on days missed. Get books and assignments from school as soon as possible when an audition or job is booked.
- Know where your child stands academically and request progress reports to keep on top of his/her performance. You will need to be prepared with schoolwork or otherwise appropriate academic supplements in the case that schoolwork was not obtained due to a last minute booking occurring after school has closed for the day.
Whatever you do, do not alienate your teachers. It is extra work for them to prepare curriculum in advance and to grade assignments outside of the rest of the class.
If your child has excessive absences as a result of child actor employment, your school might ask you to leave. If this occurs, it might be time to consider an independent study or home school program. Today, there are many home school programs to choose from. Here are a couple of really great websites to help you navigate home schooling:
Know the rules/laws about child actor education:
Although California law requires employers to provide children with three hours of educational instruction by a state certified studio teacher, there are very few states that have this legal requirement. Be sure to check out the rules for working with child actors in the child’s home state as well as any other state a child might travel to for work.
Labor Law information can be found by clicking on rules and laws tab above.
After California, the most stringent set of rules for child actors are SAG rules:
If a minor is guaranteed three (3) or more consecutive days of employment, SAG requires producers to employ a teacher to ensure that the minor’s education is not neglected or hampered by such employment. (Codified Basic Agreement, Section 50 (d))
On non-union projects, when labor laws are inadequate, you, your agent, or your manager will need to negotiate in advance with producers for education on set.
What else can a “Power Parent” do to keep production flowing smoothly?
- Always have school supplies. Communicate with your teachers and bring books and assignments to the job. If you need supplemental material try Costco, Rite-Aid, or any book store in order to stock up on age-appropriate books and workbooks. Whatever you do, do not show up empty handed.
- Extra activities such as certain electronic devices, board games, cards, puzzles, and other “quiet games” should also be brought in case there is down time after schoolwork is completed or on non-school days.
- Leave balls and sports type games at home to avoid potential injury on set. Be conscious of certain items (like markers) that might stain skin or wardrobe.
- For babies and children not yet enrolled in school, please bring some of your child’s favorite books, toys or activities to keep them entertained during downtime.
- Teachers on set do not double as baby sitters. You are required to oversee your child and be within sight and/or sound of them at all times.
- DO NOT BRING any non-working siblings, friends, or other family members with you to the job.
Remember to also bring a book or activity for yourself in order to keep busy throughout the day. Try to avoid hovering in the classroom when teachers have been provided to work with your child.