Some parents have no idea how their child is doing in school until report cards are issued or until receiving a call from a teacher or principal. Families lead such busy lives that some parents just take for granted that their child must be doing great in school because they rely on their child’s word that school is going “great.”
When a parent is not aware of issues regarding their child’s academic progress or behavior until report card time, poor grades or comments about work not turned in or Johnny’s behavior issues are a part of your child’s permanent record and will be carried with him throughout the rest of his school years and can perhaps influence decisions made regarding employment or college acceptance.
There are five easy tips for parents to help their child succeed in school that can have lasting positive effects on your child’s grades, attitude, and success in school.
1. Know all of your child’s teachers and keep in touch with them regularly
These days, students have more than just one teacher, even in elementary school. Students at elementary level will have art, music and physical education teachers, but may also have other teachers for computer lab, science, language arts and any special needs classes that your child may be in.
Attend open house at the beginning of the year and visit each teacher. Make sure you have each teacher’s name and telephone number. Ask the teacher to call you if there are ever any issues. Failing to have ongoing communication with all your child’s teachers may be detrimental if issues ever arise.
2. Do not ask your child if she has any homework; instead ask “What homework do you have?”
It is rare, with all the required local, state and federal requirements for education, that children do not have homework every day, except some weekends. If you simply ask, “Do you have homework?” you are opening the door for a possible “no.” Even the best of students get tired, bored or frustrated at school, just like parents get tired, bored or frustrated with their jobs sometimes. If your child knows that you are aware that she has daily homework, there is less chance that she will deny having homework.
3. Check your child’s book bag regularly
No matter whether your child is in first grade or tenth grade, you should check your child’s book bag. Children of all ages stuff important papers in their book bag, along with their textbooks and supplies and forget about them or simply think it is unimportant. It could be a notice of an important school meeting, a notice that your child’s teacher would like to see you or a disciplinary notice. Kids also hide homework assignments in their book bags. You may find assignments that were supposed to have been already turned in.
4. Know when your child has exams and prepare an adequate study area
When your child has an exam, an area must be provided that will permit your child to have the capability of focusing on studying without a household full of distractions going on. That does not mean everyone must whisper and tiptoe so Suzy is not disturbed. Your child should not be answering telephone calls or texts when studying. She should not be in front of the television when there is an algebra test or the state exams the following day. If your child is on the computer, the computer screen should be displaying information about history or science, not her favorite social networking site. Make it clear that such distractions are not permitted when studying for any exam. It is imperative that your child understand the importance of studying without distractions, so explain why such distractions are not permitted. When your child has finished studying for the exam, if there is still enough time left before bedtime, allow her to engage in the distraction not permitted during the time she was studying for the exam.
5. Make sure your child knows you are interested in his success at school
Some parents never come face-to-face with their child’s teachers the entire year. Even if Johnny needs special help and parents are needed to meet with the counselor or special education staff, there are parents who never come to school. There are children who can never participate in a school play or school performance because their parents will not take a couple hours of their time one evening to attend a school event. Many parents never attend open house, even though nowadays, open house hours are set to accommodate parents’ busy schedules.
Be proactive in your child’s education. School is not the only place your child can fail. If your actions indicate to your child that you do not care or have time, your child may decide she does not care or have time for her education either. If you have a poor attitude towards your child’s teachers because they try to tell you Johnny is acting out, you reinforce to Johnny that it is okay for him to continue acting out.
When you demonstrate a sincere interest and ongoing support for your child’s education at the beginning of the school year, your child will start out the year strong and will be more likely to do his best. When your child sees that you are willing to take the time to talk to him about school, he will feel comfortable coming to you for help with schoolwork when he needs it, or if any other issues arise throughout the school year.
Following these simple tips will help your child and you to have a great school year.