You are the key to your child’s success at school, much more important than their teacher or tutor or anyone else… while that may sound daunting, it’s doesn’t have to be… it’s an amazing opportunity to make an incredible impact, and it’s not terribly difficult — you just need to invest your time, wisely. Here are 9 ways to help your child shine at school, and not one of them is difficult, even with “new math.”
1. Get the Scoop
There’s a reason most school children bring home an agenda every day — so that you, the parent, knows what’s going on at school. Which assignments are due, what they’re working on, what’s coming up… you’ll learn all of this if you ask your child open-ended questions, and if they’re not forthcoming, check the agenda! It’s tremendously important to do this every single day, not just when you think there’s a problem. If you show an interest no matter how busy you are, your child will get the message that his or her school work is that important to you.
2. Communicate with Their Teacher
Talk to your child’s teacher. About everything. Always. Let the teacher know what’s going on at home, what might be affecting your little one’s attitude, emotions, and school work. Likewise, let the teacher know that you’d like to hear feedback, often, about what’s going on at school. The better the lines of communication up front, the easier it will be to communicate if there’s an issue. The complaint I hear most often from my daughter’s teacher is that she never hears from the parents of her students unless there’s a problem, and that doesn’t make for a very good teacher-parent relationship, as you can imagine.
3. Help Them with Homework
Every single day, find out what your child has for homework, and help them with it. Make it a habit, one they’ll carry with them into college. Set time aside, clear a workspace, and for God’s sake turn off the TV. Give your child, and their homework, your undivided attention. It will make a huge impact, not just on the quality of the assignments they turn in, and in their grades, but also in their attitude about school and homework.
4. Read with Them
Any primary school teacher will tell you that this is the most important, valuable thing you can do to help your little one shine at school. Reading with them twenty minutes a day helps them develop their literacy skills, but also helps them improve their spoken vocabulary… and it allows you to spend more one-on-one time with them… and what could be better than that? It’s a win-win!
5. Develop Their Confidence
This may seem small and silly, but it’s not: rather than telling your little girl how beautiful she is, tell her how smart she is! It’s wonderful to tell her both, of course, just make sure you’re giving her plenty of positive feedback about her brilliance and intelligence, rather than just her looks… this will help her develop confidence, which is so important at school.
6. Be Proactive
Don’t wait until your child beings their report card home, then punish them for the grades that they’ve earned. Be proactive! Know ahead of time which subjects your child is doing well in, and where they need help. Punishing them for poor grades four times a school year won’t help them… but helping them with their school work all year long will!
7. Address Bullying
Whether your child is in kindergarten or high school, you must address any bullying issue you suspect. Ask for a meeting with the teacher, then the principal, and if you still don’t feel the issue has been resolved, change classes or schools. Insist on appropriate action until you, and your child, are happy. You’re your child’s fiercest, most important protector, so follow your instincts and don’t let him or her be bullied.
8. Get Help
If your child is struggling with their school work, and you feel you’ve done all you can do, seek professional tutoring help. That’s what the tutoring and learning centers are for! Not all of them are pricey, either, and in some cases, the school may have special arrangements or discounts at certain tutoring centers. Can you think of a better investment than one that will help your child in school?
9. Ask Them for Their Best
Make sure your children know that no-one, including you, ever expects anything other than their best. Whether that “best” in an A or a D, as long as your child is doing her best, and can say that will all honesty, support her. How could anyone expect more than her best? Or, as the guy in my workout video says, “Do your best and forget the rest.” What marvelous words to live by!
Soon, you may notice that the time you spend with your little one on their school work will become your favorite time of the day, and you’ll notice their renewed confidence in their own abilities. How rewarding! Or maybe you’ve already done these things, and have seen the difference they can make… do you have any other tips to share? Please do!
Top Photo Credit: Christopher Futcher