10 tips to boost the right involvement in children’s education so parents make the grade
The crisis in education is mind-boggling: Every 26 seconds another American children drops out of our school system. Every school day another 7200 students drop out of our school system.
We must engage our children early and we must help them develop an early mindset that that education is important. We know that the right type of parental involvement is critical to our children’s academic success. Parents are their children’s first teacher. Here are my top ten tips to help parents make the grade and help our students succeed.
1. Stress “Be on time” and attendance!”
Research shows that school attendance is the single most important factor in your child’s school success.
Being late to school just ten minutes each day means 30 hours of lost instruction time each year. So avoid scheduling doctor’s appoints or family trips during those school hours.
Teach your child to set an alarm clock so he can take responsibility for his own wake ups and you can stop playing Big Ben. But do what it takes to make sure your child’s in class on time and ready to learn.
2. Prioritize schoolwork
Stress that school and homework comes before friends, a job, or sports. Limit or restrict TV, videogames and movies during school nights. Set high expectations that you expect your child to do his schoolwork to the best of his ability, and then make sure he does by following through. If he doesn’t-set a consequence. (Hint: Teens who did not graduate from high school say they would have preferred that their parents were stricter and demanded more of them in their learning). Set high educational aspirations for your child.
3. Be involved from the get go!
Know what’s going on in your child’s school and classroom. Monitor your child’s school progress. Read the school newsletters, volunteer, show up to school events, and answer each communication. Check your child’s work, but don’t do it for her!
4. Partner with the teacher
Show up to every parent conference and back-to-school-event. Call for an appointment if you see your child struggling. Maintain ongoing communication with the teacher and the school. Stay connected! Don’t let that report card surprise you. Know how your child is doing.
5. Show daily interest
Create daily rituals such as in the car pool, during the family meal or every night before your child goes to bed to discuss school. Ask: “What did you do in school?” not “How did you do?” Don’t let a day go by that you don’t talk about what happened in your child’s classroom and what he’s learning.
6. Support your child’s school activity participation
Kids who feel connected to their school are more likely to have better grades as well as graduate. Encourage your child to participate in school activities that match his interests such as football, the chess club, band, or theatre, and then cheer him on.
7. Applaud effort!
Acknowledge hard work and persistence not just the grade or the outcome. Use specific praise about a task so your child knows what he did right to help stretch his inner motivation.
The single greatest correlation to success in life is not the child’s grade but his persistence.
Emphasize the effort!
8. Be a role model
Read in front of your kids. Check out books from the library. Talk about the importance of education. Have books available so your kids see that reading is important. Let your kids see that you aren’t derailed by a mistake, and problem solve to work things through. Be an example of hard work and persistence so your child has a model to copy.
9. Pass on high educational aspirations
Be clear that you value learning and why education is crucial. Your child must understand it is important to work hard and how his effort will pay off later. From an early age talk to your child about his future education plans in “when” not “if” term: “When you graduate from high school…” and “When you go to college…”
10. Get help so your child succeeds!
If your child is struggling with his learning don’t wait to get help. Call the school and talk to the teacher. Ask to speak with the counselor or school psychologist. Your goal is to create the best plan to help your child’s learning steadily progress and reduce frustrations so he feels successful. Don’t give up!