How to Help Your Child Succeed in School
For kids and teens, school can be a source of major source of stress that can weigh on them pretty heavily. They need as much outside support and encouragement as you can give them, especially during the time of the year when school can be a really challenging time.
As a parent, you want to do everything you can to make sure your kids do well in school and feel like you’re genuinely concerned about their educational well-being. But how can you be a supportive parent without becoming an overbearing parent? Every parent wants to do the most they can for their child to make sure they’re getting the best education, but you don’t want to do anything that only adds to their stress.
Take a Visit to the School
The easiest way to support your child and help them succeed in school is by visiting the school itself. Go and learn the layout of the school and where all the important offices are such as the main office, nurse’s office, gym, playground, cafeteria, and especially the classroom where your child spends all their time.
Besides visiting the school, take a little time to visit the school’s website as well. On the website, you’ll find a host of important information such as the school’s academic calendar, staff contact information, important testing dates, and school/staff holidays. Many schools now require teachers to set up their own calendars and personal web pages with more information about themselves. They include due dates for assignments, upcoming tests, and contact information so parents can reach out to them with any questions.
Make Sure They Start the Day Right
Everyone successful, no matter their age, doesn’t get very far if they don’t have very good habits at home. Even though they might complain, your kids need to get enough sleep every single night. Help them to create solid routines to follow at bedtime and when they wake up in the morning for school.
Before you send them off on the school bus or take them to school, make sure they’re getting a great, healthy breakfast. There have been numerous studies about the benefits of breakfast and how it helps children perform better in school. Follow up a great breakfast with positive affirmations and they’ve started off the day on the right foot.
Never Skip Parent / Teacher Conferences
Make sure to check your school’s website for parent / teacher night and take advantage of meeting your child’s teacher or teachers. They can give you great insight into how your child is doing in school and if there are any areas where they might need a bit of help. This kind of information can help you figure out how you can support your teacher by helping your child at home. It’s important that you and your child’s teacher work together for the benefit of your child’s education.
Ask as many questions as you think are important. Parent / teacher conferences are the easiest way to make time with your child’s teacher and get as many answers as you need. Make sure to exchange contact information with your child’s teacher to make it easier for them to contact you if there’s ever any they’re experiencing or noticing
Give Up a Bit of Your Time to Help
If you’re a stay at home parent and have a bit of time on your hands, or you’re interested in volunteering in the community, helping out at your child’s school is a great opportunity to be involved.
Volunteering to be a chaperon for a field trip or at a school event, being a cafeteria monitor, helping out in the school library, or helping the teacher in the classroom is a great way to be a part of the school environment and learn a little about how the school operates on a daily basis.
Homework Issues? Find Some Help
Chances are your child is going to bring home a piece of homework that might as well be written in a foreign language or might even be written in a foreign language. If they’re struggling and you have no way to help them, it’s time to find them a tutor or homework helper.
Spending time at the school should give you a bit of information as to the type of support programs available for students who need a bit of extra help outside the classroom. If you’re not sure where to turn, contact your child’s teacher to see if maybe they have a designated time afterschool when they help students with homework. Or ask if there is a specific program available for students who need homework help.
Thanks to the internet, there are also various websites designed to help students with homework at all grade levels.
Developing Good Study and Organization Skills
School gets much easier when your child has great organizational skills and even better study habits. As we talked about in a previous blog, developing good study habits has many variables including establishing what kind of learner your child is whether it’s visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. It’s also important to create a proper study area that is free from anything your child uses as a distraction.
Teaching your child to be organized will make sure they don’t lose important notes or assignments. This also means teaching them how to use an organizer or a calendar to make sure they aren’t forgetting certain tasks, assignments, or important dates.
Praise Reaching Goals, Not Grades
While your child might put a major emphasis on grades, it doesn’t mean you have to as well. Grades don’t always report how well a child is learning or retaining knowledge. Some kids might be horrible at taking tests and it reflects poorly on their report cards, but they might be fantastic students otherwise.
Instead of making grades a priority, teach your child to set goals and work hard to reach them. If they made a C+ in the first term, encourage them to work a bit harder and bring it up to a B. Don’t force them to shoot for an A when earning a B+ can greatly boost their confidence and help them work for that A.
Don’t post their report cards on the fridge or post their grades on social media for other people to see. Those grades are a reflection of your child and how hard they’ve worked. They don’t need the adoration of people on the internet. They need your adoration, your support, and your understanding when school is tough for them. Grades are just numbers. If your child isn’t learning or retaining information, grades can lie.
Of course, always make time to talk to your child about how school is going. Sometimes, the easiest way to find out how to help is to ask them directly. Maybe they aren’t sure if you’ll understand they’re struggling or they’re afraid you’ll be disappointed. Some kids also have strong willed personalities and refuse to let anyone help them. These are situations you as a parent need to determine with your children. Get them the help they need, be supportive, praise them when they did well, and take an active role in their education.