A Parent's Guide: Helping Your Kids Succeed at School

succeed at school

 

Every parent wants to see their child experience success in life. One of those successes is graduating high school and walking the aisle to get their diploma. This guide is designed to give parents and other caregivers tips and helpful hints to improve their children's chances of being successful in the classroom.

Where Does It Start?

While teachers are tasked with presenting information to children, success in school starts with you, the parent. To put it bluntly, your actions at home largely determine whether or not your child will succeed at school.

If you act disinterested and are passive about your child's grades, chances are your child will be disinterested and passive about school. On the other hand, if you play an active role in your child's schooling and are constantly engaged with your children, there's a pretty good chance your child will stay focused and engaged as well.

 

Studies have shown children with parents who play an active role in their school lives have the following things going for them:

  • They're more likely to graduate.
  • They get better grades.
  • They score higher on tests.
  • They appreciate school and enjoy learning.

Get involved and stay involved. The more invested you are, the more likely your child is to remain invested. It's that simple.

Know Your State's Standards

Each state has a set of standards to which it holds children who attend schools in that state. These standards define the basic knowledge and skills a child should have as they pass each grade. Schools use these standards when choosing their curriculum because students are tested yearly to ensure schools are teaching to these standards.

By knowing the standards, you can help your child prepare for the school year ahead. A copy of your state's learning standards should be available at your child's school or from the district office. If you aren't able to obtain them there, contact your state's department of education. Knowing the standards gives you the ability to guide your child's learning in the right direction and helps you ensure your child stays on track throughout his or her schooling.

Stay Involved

Open dialogue with your children is important. Start building a relationship with your child early and keep the dialogue open and earnest all the way through high school.

Here are some tips you can use to stay involved in your child's life:

  • Discuss their daily lives. While you might not want to hear about what Jimmy did to Johnny on the playground for the 30th time, it's important to your child that you listen. Make time daily to talk to your kids about their lives and try to actively engage them in conversation. If they aren't able to tell you about the good stuff in their lives, they aren't going to be willing to discuss the bad stuff when it happens.
  • Find out what interests your child has and help them explore them. Talk to your child about what they're interested in and help them learn more about their interests. Dinosaurs may bore you to death, but your child may love them and be open to learning anything and everything about dinosaurs. Learning doesn't just happen at school. Your child can learn all sorts of exciting and interesting things at home. It doesn't matter so much what they're learning, what matters is they're engaging their brains and are learning something. Of course you want to keep them focused on school, but the stuff they're learning in the classroom doesn't have to be the only stuff they learn.
  • Love your child. Express how much you love and care for your child frequently. While you may feel love and think your kid knows you love them, it's important that you express this regularly, be it through hugs, kisses or a simple, "I Love You, Kiddo."
  • Take trips to interesting places with learning opportunities. Visit libraries, museums, learning fairs, exhibits and anywhere else you can think of that may stimulate learning.

The Daily Routine

Create a daily routine that you stick to as closely as possible. Setting a routine at an early age gives your child structure and will build the foundation of a successful life.

Here's a sample routine that you could set in place:

  1. Get up in the morning. Take a shower. Get dressed, comb hair and brush teeth.
  2. Eat breakfast and prepare lunch.
  3. Go to school.
  4. Arrive home from school and eat a snack.
  5. Do chores. Chores must be finished before playtime.
  6. Child is allowed to play until dinner.
  7. Eat.
  8. Do homework and study until bedtime.
  9. Put pajamas on, brush teeth and go to bed.

Of course, this is a simple list and you can change the routine as you see fit to accommodate sports and other activities. Children understand structure and establishing a daily routine will go a long way toward ensuring success.

Homework

We lead busy lives and it's all too easy to allow things like homework assignments to slip. It's important that we prioritize school and emphasize that, next to family, school is the most important thing in a child's life. Homework is a fact of every young child's life. Some will breeze right through their homework, while others will struggle to stay focused and get it done. What's important is that they do it and that they learn from it.

Set a designated study and homework time every day and provide a quiet, calm place where your child can study. Turn off the TV. Music is OK, as long as the volume is kept to an acceptable level and it doesn't become a distraction. 

Check your child's homework assignments, but avoid doing it for them. It's OK to give your child a gentle push in the right direction, but you need to make sure that's all you're doing. Your child learns by doing homework and you aren't doing them any favors if you're dictating the correct answers. It's OK to act interested in your child's work and to guide them to the right answer, but it's important they figure it out for themselves.

Tutoring

When all else fails, get a tutor.

Tutoring may be available for free from your child's school. Most teachers stay after school and are willing to help your child with areas they're struggling in.

Another option is professional tutoring. This option can be a bit pricey, but a professional tutor may be able to help a child who's struggling in school figure out why they're struggling and give them tips on how to refocus their efforts.