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Help Your Child Progress At School

Updated on March 20, 2017
Al Greenbaum profile image

Al taught English at home and overseas all his working life. He is saddened by the results-based education system of today.

Have A Plan

Every parent wants to have a child who succeeds at school. But success does not come from good intentions. It is best to have a strategy that encompasses all areas of the educational process. Once this feels comfortable, an improvement in your child's progress can follow.

Set Routines

Younger children, in particular, will benefit from preparing for a school day, the night before. To avoid a chaotic start to the day put the following into action.

To be placed in the school bag the night before a school day.

  • All homework, assignments, models for show and tell, etc.
  • PE kit if necessary.
  • Textbooks, workbooks, etc.
  • Packed lunch, if required can be put in the bag first thing in the morning.

The older a child gets, the less likely he/she will need this kind of supervision. By middle school, or earlier, the routine will come as second nature to the child.

If you are driving your child to school and organised morning routine can save the embarrassment of arriving late.


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Have Cordial Relations With The School

Nowadays, schools make a significant effort to keep parents informed about what is going on in class.

Newsletters help you keep up to date with special events, like a uniform-free day, parents' evening, school trips, etc. Read them. If you are unsure about any information you receive, get in touch with the school. Most schools have a website with contact information.

If you have serious concerns about how your child is progressing, academically or emotionally, get in touch with the school. The usual process would be an email or letter outlining your concerns requesting a follow-up meeting.

When you go to a meeting at school retain a level of positivity – believe that the problem is going to be solved. Treat the administrators and teachers with grace and don't go on the offensive from the start. Educators are good listeners who want to sort out the problems that their students may have. Parents can often help by supplying background information that teachers did not possess which may enlighten them on the causes of such things as low achievement. Nevertheless, make the goal of the meeting to find solutions, rather than just apportion blame.

Try to keep your contact with the school reasonable. If you are in the habit of phoning every week to ask about something explained in full on the school website will be counterproductive. Nevertheless, if you have real concerns about bullying or academic progress, arrange an appointment with the child's teacher.

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Support Extra Curricula Activities

Events like soccer matches attract parents who have come to encourage their child to perform successfully. Unfortunately, some get too involved in such games, and things can run out of control. By all means, cheer your child when he does well but keep any criticisms to yourself. Being censored, in public especially, by your parents is going to have an adverse effect and may contribute to a child dropping out of a team.

Relations with the opposing teams' spectators should be cordial, not as a battle royal. Equally, criticism of the opposing team's players is not acceptable.

Even though you may not agree with the decisions officials make, it would set a bad example to dispute them in public. If there has been an error of judgement, it will be up to the team coach to file a complaint through the appropriate channels.

You may receive invitations to concerts, plays and exhibitions.Try and show your support by turning up, even if you can't stay the whole time, show your enthusiasm by giving your time.

Join The Parent Teacher Association

Get involved with the school's PTA. It will provide you with a valuable opportunity to use your interest in your child's education by volunteering for jobs like putting on concerts, organising fund-raisers and other important events. You will also get an opportunity to talk to teachers in a less formal situation.

Equip Your Child With The Right Supplies

There will need to be a financial commitment for school supplies on your part. A uniform will have to be bought, along with pens, pencils, erasers, etc. ( In the world, we live in, there may be a need for a laptop too. But most schools have a computer suite, and some even provide free laptops.

Be prepared to replenish things as pencils and pens run out as well as exercise books. Unfortunately, things will go missing. Rushing from one class to another often means a bag gets packed quickly and some materials may be left behind.

It is advisable not to buy the most expensive items for your child to use in class as wastage and disappearances can have a punishing effect on a parental budget.

Set Limits For Screen Time

Like adults, children need time to unwind. The internet and video games have become popular among young people - TV has always been attractive. Unfortunately, these things can become a huge distraction. Hours can be spent gaming; whole evenings can be devoted to the internet. Before long, the diversionary effect of such things wipes out time that could have been spent doing homework or reading. It is much better to have rules for the use of blue screen items.

As a general rule, no online activity in the bedroom when lights go out – no TV either. Better still, don't allow tablet, television or video game use during the week. Permit structured use at weekends and holidays.

School Holidays/Trips

Schools send out letters to parents when they intend to offer to travel and visit places of interest – sometimes abroad. When you receive the information, check for the following,

  • Duration
  • Number of teachers involved
  • Contact Numbers During the Holiday
  • Travel Arrangements to And from The Destination

If your child is in his or her mid-teens be aware of the sensitivities prevalent in that age range; fussing on departure may be embarrassing to your child and those around. On the other hand, younger children, especially on their first trip away from parents, may enjoy a bit of special attention.

What Can A Parent Do At Home?

Help with homework is OK as long as you are not doing it for your child. There is a thin line between assisting and being the one who completes the homework. Sitting down with your child before starting the work can help. Discussing what is necessary to do the assignment well will be useful. A lot of schools provide review sheets that outline task completion.

Reading is of tremendous importance. Reading to your child for just twenty minutes a day has been proven to have immense worth.

As the child gets more independent, reading for pleasure every day may well become a habit that leads to a hobby. If you get your child to do this, you have achieved a lot.

Have Realistic Aspirations

Try to give your kids some independence from you and your spouse or partner. It is natural to feel sad sometimes. Success is not always the result of great effort. There are times when we fail at what we do. We learn from our mistakes and parents need to take that on board. They need to seek a balance between protecting and smothering their offspring.

Parents want their children to have a successful life. There is nothing wrong with that. But a certain degree of realism needs to be retained when having expectations for young people. If you drive your children towards a career goal that is unrealistic, tension and frustration will result. Keep in touch with the school on these matters and ask for guidance on an appropriate career path.

It is natural to try and be as helpful as possible to your children in their upbringing – especially their education. Finding the balance is the secret. Too much involvement can have a detrimental effect, minimal engagement can be equally as bad.

When your child is very young, he or she will need a lot of help and encouragement with reading, speaking and social skills. As time goes on, keep helping your kid to find his way but give more and more opportunities to do things unaided. Let them thrive at school through a confident and independent personality that you helped them acquire.

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    • Al Greenbaum profile image
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      Al Greenbaum 5 months ago from Europe

      Thank you, Sunil for your kind and encouraging comment.

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 5 months ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Wonderful and helping.Keep on writing such useful hubs. All the best.