Backpack…check! Pencils…check! Three-ring binder…check! Making sure that your child has everything he or she will need for school is important, but there are a number of other things parents should do to ensure that their child has a successful school year.
“Whether your child is in kindergarten or a senior in high school, it is important for parents to be involved in their education,” State Superintendent June Atkinson said. “By meeting with your child’s teachers, asking your child what they are doing in school and supporting their classroom activities, you are telling your child that their education matters.”
Parents need to establish positive communication with their child’s teacher(s) from the first day of classes. Teachers are an important partner in your child’s education and academic success. Make every effort to attend your child’s open house and, if you can’t, make an appointment to speak with your child’s teacher(s).
Set high expectations for your child from day one. If given a choice, make sure your child takes challenging courses. Establish a regular time and a quiet place where they can do their homework. Make sure that there are few distractions and that you are nearby if they should have questions. Encourage your child to ask questions of their teachers when given homework or an assignment so that they will know what to do once they get home.
Make daily reading part of your family’s routine. Read to preschool children at least 20 minutes a day or have older children read to you. Have your child discuss with you what they read. Ask them questions about the characters in the book or about the storyline. Along with daily reading, limit your child’s screen time during the school week. Although a little bit of screen time is not bad, too much time in front of the TV or computer (if it’s not school related) can negatively impact your child’s school performance.
Talk about school every day. Ask your child about what they are learning in their various classes. Do they have any tests that week? Has the teacher assigned any major projects and when are they due? How did they do on their latest test or book report? Talking with your child about school and what they are doing in class shows them how important their education is to you.
Parents also are encouraged to keep in communication with their child’s teachers. Email them your contact information and let them know when you are available if they need to reach you. Ask how they prefer to communicate with parents. If they are using online resources, sign up for notices and information to be sent to you via email or your phone. If your child experiences any problems during the school year, meet with them and let them know so that the issues can be addressed immediately. You also can ask the teacher(s) if there are ways you can support your child at home.
As a final suggestion, parents are encouraged to check with your child’s teacher(s), principal and school Parent Teacher Association for additional ways you can be involved in your child’s academic success.