10 Ways to Help Your Child Succeed in School

With your involvement, your child can excel in school. Here’s what you can do to help ensure a positive school experience. Your child is starting school – and you’re starting to worry. Will he like it? Will he make friends? Will his teacher be too hard on him – or not hard enough?

As the school bus pulls away and you wave good-bye, you may feel helpless. What can you do to make school a positive part of your child’s life? Here are 10 ways you can help:

  1. Foster an appreciation of reading. This is the most important thing you can do when it comes to your child’s education. Encourage her to go to the library and choose books on subjects that interest her. Keep books and kids’ magazines in your house. Spend time reading, too. When she sees that you enjoy it, she’ll see its importance.
  2. Become familiar with the school. Ask for a tour of the building and a school handbook. Check out the school’s Web site and learn about the staff, school activities and special events.
  3. Get involved. If you take pride in your child’s school, so will he. Attend PTA meetings, volunteer to help out at school functions and go to basketball games. Get your child involved in a sport, a club or some other activity.
  4. Meet with your child’s teacher. Let your child’s teacher know about any special needs she might have. If she is struggling in school or is having problems with her peers, ask her teacher what can be done. Many school Web sites include teacher’s e-mail addresses.
  5. Talk to your child. Find out what he likes and dislikes about school, how he gets along with his teacher and if he’s making new friends. Ask what he’s learning and if he’s having any problems with the subject matter. Let him know you’re there for him if he needs help.
  6. Don’t jump to conclusions. If your child has a conflict with her teacher, realize that there are two sides to every story. Don’t automatically jump to her defense or bad-mouth the teacher. Meet with the teacher to discuss your concerns. If you can’t resolve the conflict, talk to the principal. On the other hand, if you agree with the teacher, let your child know and explain why.
  7. Encourage good attendance. If your child is ill, keep him home in bed, but otherwise, make sure he goes to school. Missing too much work can put him so far behind that he may not be able to catch up.
  8. Supervise homework. Whether it’s the kitchen table or a desk in her room, make sure your child has a quiet place to work. Have a specific time each day for homework. Check her work to make sure it’s complete and that she’s followed directions.
  9. Teach good study habits. Help him plan for tests by studying each day instead of “cramming” at the last minute. Make sure he gets lots of sleep the night before the test and has a good breakfast.
  10. Don’t overreact. If she brings home a bad grade, stay calm. Whether she just had a bad day or is struggling with the work, reacting with anger will only make her anxious and bring on test anxiety. Instead of punishment, talk to her about the problem and tell her you’ll get her help if she needs it.

When parents get involved, children are more likely to do their best. Make your children’s school your school, too, and chances are they’ll happily adjust to their new surroundings.