The Best & Worst Ways to Help Your Child in School
As a parent, I see myself being actively involved in my sons’ education. A teacher conference, school event, homework, and even the cringe-worthy musicals, I’m there. However, there’s a fine line between being an involved parent or a dreaded helicopter parent. The latter (or not being involved at all) benefits no one, especially the child. Here are the best and worst ways you can help your child have a successful school year.
Meet your child’s teacher. You don’t have to be BFFs, but meeting your child’s teacher shows him/her your support and helps you both if issues arise. Open houses and parent conferences are a great way to meet your child’s teacher. Can’t meet in person? Send an email or schedule a call.
Set high (attainable) expectations. Once you get past the eye rolling and the drawn out sighs, you’re child truly does care what you think. The expectations you set for your child have a significant effect on your child’s performance, good or bad.
Make sure homework is completed. My son’s teacher has made this easy for us. Each week, she sends home a schedule that includes homework assignments. My wife or I are asked to sign each day to ensure we saw his homework and it was completed. If your child’s teacher doesn’t provide this, ask your child about homework and if you think there are issues, contact the teacher.
Prioritize studying. After a long day at school, the first thing your child wants to pick up is the smartphone or game controller. Encourage your child to work first and play later. Set a regular time and distraction-free work area for your child to study and do homework. Establish rules that you’ll enforce and will guide your child to take responsibility for work at home and school.
Talk to your child about school. I know this can be like pulling teeth, but when you show interest in your child’s school day, he/she is likely to show more interest in school as well. Also, by talking to your child regularly, he/she picks up communications skills (e.g., responding, listening, eye contact) needed to be successful in school.
Disregard tardiness. It’s important to teach your child punctuality. It’s a quality he/she will need beyond the school years. Being tardy puts your child behind from the start and it’s disruptive to the class as a whole, as the teacher may have to pause during a lesson to make sure your child gets settled.
Not following the rules. Yes, parents need to follow the rules too and you’re not the exception. Whether it’s sitting in child drop-off too long, not signing in when you visit, or venturing away from the group on a field trip, when your child sees you breaking the rules, he/she will feel it’s acceptable to break them too. It can strain the relationship with school staff for you and your child.
Sending your child to school sick. Want to upset a room full of parents? Send your sick child to school who in turn makes their child sick. If your child has a fever or spent most of the night in the bathroom, for the sake of your child, the teacher and classmates, keep him/her at home.
Being negative. You may not always agree with your child’s teacher or like the behavior of another student, but don’t voice your disagreements or negative comments with your child. Much like breaking the rules, if your child witnesses your negativity towards authorities or classmates, he/she may tend to be less respectful towards them as well.
How do you see you helping your child this school year? Share your ideas with us.