Do you want to know the secret to helping your child succeed at school? The answer might be easier than you think: It’s getting involved.
We don’t need research to tell us parent involvement is the key to helping a child succeed. Although, more than 50 years of research does support this fact.
Employing parents as partners in learning:
- Improves a child’s academic performance (American Institutes for Research)
- Boosts a child’s social competence (Harvard Family Research Project)
- Leads to higher grades, test scores and graduation rates (McREL International)
And remember, your engagement in your child’s progress at home is just as important as it is at school.
Here are a few ways you can improve your child’s progress:
Monkey see, Monkey do
Let’s be honest, you’re your child’s first — and most important — teacher. Even if they won’t admit it, most kids find fulfillment from pleasing their parents. They also learn habits from mimicking your actions. Whether you like it or not, your actions shape who your child will be, how they treat others, and how they navigate through life.
That’s why it’s so important to lead by example. Creating a positive attitude toward learning starts with showing genuine interest in their progress at school. When you do that, your child builds confidence as a learner; it also sets the stage for open communication.
If you want your child to treat people with respect and contribute to society in a positive way, you’ve got to show them how. If they’re not held accountable for their actions and behavior at home, they won’t be at school, either — or anywhere else for that matter.
Taking care of business
Remember that 70s song, “Taking Care of Business?” That’s the mentality you want your child to have. Let them get in the driver’s seat of their education and ultimately, their life. Yes, that means you have to let go a little.
One of the most powerful ways you can help them develop this mindset is through goal-setting.
Teaching them how to set short-term goals that work toward reaching a long-term goal will help them in everything from primary school to college, work, and beyond. They’ll become more responsible and accountable, learn to take more initiative, and most importantly, figure out how to help themself without always having to have their hand held.
Put words to action
One of the greatest ways to help your child succeed at school is by strengthening your relationship with them. That means having open and honest conversations. And staying up to date on their upcoming assignments is a good place to start doing just that.
Instead of asking them “How was school,” try, “What goals are you working on this week?” Try asking them what they’re struggling with and brainstorm ways you can help fill the gaps together (and maybe set up a separate meeting with their teacher).
By asking thought-provoking questions, it shows your child you care about what they have to say. Encourage them to share their opinions and validate them, too — even when you don’t necessarily agree with them all the time. Research shows that when kids feel like their opinion doesn’t matter, they start to withdraw from the conversation or worse, your relationship.
Oh, and when lending advice, try to be encouraging and positive. Avoid a judgemental tone and put-downs. Focus on reflecting on both successes and failures, and what you can learn from them. Altogether, this will create an environment where your child can wholeheartedly express themselves, build communication skills, and stand up for their beliefs.
Before you go…
U.S. Department of Education researcher, Dr. Karen Mapp said, “We have 50 years of research showing that what families do matters. Whether it’s loving school, college access, good attendance, or academic success, family engagement has positive correlations with all sorts of indicators.”
You’re the foundation that shapes and builds your child’s confidence, character, and drive — all of which contribute to their academic and personal well-being. Your actions matter. And their success starts with you.
Helping your child improve and succeed at school isn’t just about getting involved; it’s about being more strategic about the way you get involved.
Want to more tips on how to help improve your child’s progress at school? See how one teacher helps his students succeed by learning from their failures.