Back to school means a fresh start’not just for your child, but for you as well. Regardless of last year’s successes (or challenges), every new school year is a chance to begin again.
Numerous studies of students’from Kindergarten through to grade 12’found that parental involvement is consistently associated with higher student achievement outcomes across grades, standardized test scores, and overall educational outcomes. Simply speaking, an engaged parent can make all the difference between a child who simply attends school because they’re required to, versus one who is motivated to be the best they can be, not just in school but in life.
Don’t know where to start? No matter their age, here are four ways parents can help their children succeed in school.
1. Help your child get organized.
- Repetition and structure help children feel safe. It also teaches them responsibility and independence. Identify a routine that works best for your family’and stick to it.
- Think about different sections of the day (e.g. morning, after-school, bedtime) and establish a routine within those time frames with consistent start/end times (e.g. waking up and going to bed at the same time every day).
- Have a family calendar in the kitchen and write down important school events such as parents’ night, when report cards come out, when your child’s soccer games will occur, etc.
- Provide a quiet space at home where your child can study without distractions.
- Help your child make lists and charts that will help him remember what he has to do. Give them a checkmark or star when each job is finished.
2. Get in the know.
- Stay in contact with your child’s teachers to monitor progress throughout the year.
- Follow your child’s school timetable; know when tests are coming up or when projects are due.
- Understand how your child’s school communicates regularly with parents. Is it a monthly newsletter? Does the school rely on hard-copy communications or email and website/social media updates? Make sure you sign up or follow accordingly.
- Attend school meetings and special events to get to know other educators and parents.
- Use this information to be specific when you ask about their day at school. Instead of ‘How was your day?’, ask questions like ‘How did your test go? What was the best/worst part of today?’
3. Partner with your child’s school
- Volunteer. If you can’t be in school during the day, offer to make class phone calls for the teacher, help make costumes for the school play or make nutritious snacks for a class outing.
- Try to attend sports games, concerts, plays, or other activities at school.
- Get to know your child’s teachers and help them to get to know your child. Remember to thank them and to show your appreciation throughout the year.
4. Support your child.
- Display school work on the refrigerator or family bulletin board. Let your child know you’re proud of them.
- Read to your young children and encourage older kids to read every day.
- Discuss current events, politics, and topics they may be studying at school.
- Have high expectations. Tell them again and again they can do well and be successful in school.