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As parents, we want nothing more than to help our children succeed in life.

This is especially true regarding their academic work and the skills they need for a bright future. Working alongside teachers, we can give our kids the tools to get further in life and do great things. Parenting plays a vital part in children’s lives, with The Sutton Trust suggesting that as many as 40% of children don’t receive the support from parents they need to succeed in life. To ensure your child doesn’t fall into that percentage, offering them care, support, and emotional bonding can make all the difference.

To provide children with the best chance of succeeding in school, parenting shouldn’t be considered a separate entity from their education. Instead, by working together, parents and educators can help children to succeed in the long term in many ways, including:

  • Offering consistent, high-quality support for their academic learning
  • Providing a template for behavior and actions later in life
  • Giving your child the tools to face the world and being prepared for anything

Want to know how you can support your child and help them do better in school? Here are just a few ways you can help your child to succeed in school with your parental support:

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Get involved in parent-led activities

For most children, the ability to do better in school can be directly linked to their parents’ interest and involvement in their academic life. With many schools holding parent-led activities and events such as back-to-school nights and the classic parent-teacher conference, parents have plenty of opportunities to get a little more involved in what is happening with their children. Gaining more insight into their learning environment and how well they are doing in school can be vital information to get your child on the right track.

Parent-teacher conferences, in particular, are vital to connecting with teachers and educators to stay in the loop about how your child is doing. Often held either once or twice per year, these conferences allow open conversation with teachers and allow a different viewpoint on how best to help your child. Teachers are experts in helping children learn, and the chance to put your heads together and work on problems together can be invaluable in helping your child succeed.

Find out more about the school your child attends

Sometimes, getting to know more about your child’s education can be as simple as knowing the place where they learn. Please take the opportunity to look at the school’s website to understand the layout of its school and the grounds surrounding it. Not only can this give you more of an idea of where your child is each day, but it can also offer you another way to connect with them. When they talk about their school day, it will make it easier to visualize exactly what they’ve been up to. For parents, knowing the locations of the office, special classes, and the school nurse are also important, just in case you’re required at the school for any reason.

The website for your child’s school can offer a wealth of knowledge for any parent, with information about the following usually included as standard:

  • Contact information and details
  • A full-year school calendar with holidays
  • Information on upcoming field trips and events
  • Timetables for test dates and exams

Some school websites also go the extra mile by providing additional resources for their students and parents, as well as homework details and assignments available directly through certain teacher websites. Staying informed is an excellent way to be there for your child and to help them succeed beyond academics.

Provide consistent support for homework

Homework should be a priority in any home. While no child enjoys spending time outside of school doing schoolwork, instilling that discipline and the ability to prioritize in children is a vital skill. Reinforcing and providing an extension to learning in the classroom and offering fundamental work ethic and study skills can make a massive difference to your child’s ability to motivate themselves to learn and work hard.

Providing homework support could be anything from setting aside a specific time slot to complete assignments after school to offering a distraction-free location where your child can work. For elementary-age children, around 10 minutes per grade is the recommended period of study or homework. For a third-grader, a half-hour of homework is about right. If your child struggles to complete homework over a long period, then that’s the point at which it’s worth talking to their teacher about their issues.

Support can also be simply helping to answer questions, provide guidance, and review any completed homework. Taking an active interest in your child’s work can help show just how important your education is to them and lets your child know you have their back when it comes to schoolwork.

Please help your child start their day with their best foot forward

Sleep, nutrition, and a good routine can significantly impact how well a child does at school. Children need far more rest than their parents (though we rarely get enough), and 10-12 hours is the average required for them to wake up bright and fresh in the morning. Ensuring their bedtime is calm, distraction-free, and on time each day can make a massive difference to their overall performance in the classroom. Limit screens, internet, and other diversions at bedtime to offer them the best chance of a good night’s sleep.

Nutrition also plays an essential role in helping children concentrate, be engaged, and focus on what they have to do for the day. Starting with foods rich in fiber, protein, and whole grains offers them the best start. When breakfast doesn’t work out as planned, sending them to school with fruit, yogurt, or a high-protein sandwich can boost the mornings. Children who don’t eat breakfast are less able to concentrate, and those whose morning meal is sugar-based are more likely to struggle in the middle of the school day than those with more nutritious food on their plates.

Support the development of organizational skills

Organization is a crucial skill for any person, and children are no exception. If a child is organized, it’s far easier for them to focus in the classroom, with less distraction or confusion when it comes to learning. For elementary-age children, this could be as simple as ensuring their homework folders and assignment books are tracked and kept up-to-date. Providing the stationery and other essentials needed to work in the classroom in their backpack is an additional way to promote the organization, especially if you require your kid to pack their bag themselves.

Organization isn’t just about keeping desks tidy and folders in order. This concept also applies to broader areas of their lives, such as prioritizing their tasks properly to get things done on time. Making a to-do list can be an excellent way to be more organized, so sitting down and creating a list with your child every evening can help build on that skill over time.

An example of a to-do list would be:

  • Complete all homework
  • Piano practice
  • Wash dishes

Organization is an acquired skill – getting in there early with your children can help set them up for better success in the future and a more organized life as a whole.

Teach your child essential skills for studying

Studying doesn’t come naturally to many children. For most kids, school is the first time they will be required to focus solely on one task for a large portion of the time. Teachers rely on parents to support their children in learning study skills when studying for tests at a younger age. Introducing your child to specific disciplines in studying makes it possible to provide them with positive habits that can be invaluable to them later in life. The first step to that process is making a calendar of when tests are scheduled, allowing for better studying without cramming at the last minute.

One of the most valuable skills parents can do for school-age children is helping them to study for tests. This can take the form of supporting them in creating study materials, providing guides, or even showing your child how to break down work into more accessible and manageable chunks of learning. In an environment where standardized testing is the norm, providing your child with the tools to succeed is vital to helping them succeed throughout their time in school and college, should they choose to go.

Understand the policies for discipline at school

For any child, understanding the limits and requirements placed upon them in school is just as important as knowing how to study and learn. Often referred to as the student code of conduct, this document is provided to parents and students through handbooks. These rules include anything from expectations for student behavior to dress codes and acceptable language in the classroom and on school grounds. Anything from bullying policies to details about fighting, weapons, attendance, and even victim support is included within the code of conduct, making it essential reading for parents just as much as children.

As a parent, familiarizing yourself with their disciplinary policies – and the expectations your child is held to – can help to reinforce the behavior your child is expected to follow when on school grounds. By matching those requirements, parents and teachers can work together to provide a safe, secure environment for students inside and outside school. By matching your requirements to the ones your child needs to meet in school, it’s easier to offer a consistent environment your child can understand.

Get more involved in their place of learning

Many schools like to see their parents going the extra mile. For parents, supporting their child’s school offers a different way to get involved in their education and show interest in where their child learns. It’s important to modulate the amount of interaction with your child’s school based on your comfort with your presence in the school. But in many cases, a little more involvement is welcome on both sides; and offers parents a new and effective way to connect with their child’s place of learning.

Examples of ways parents can get involved with their child’s school include:

  • Working as a helper in the classroom or homeroom
  • Taking part in fundraising activities such as fairs or bake sales
  • Acting as a chaperone for field trips or school dances
  • Joining the local PTA
  • Giving a talk or joining in with your child’s career day
  • Attending plays, concerts, or other school activities

For parents, there’s no one right way to get involved. Speak to your child about how much they want you to integrate with their school lives, and you can easily find a happy medium to show your child you’re interested in their school life without overwhelming them.

Make sure attendance is taken seriously

A sick child shouldn’t be in school. But when it comes to other attendance matters, it’s always better for your child to be in the classroom where possible. While a little time off now and then might be necessary – whether it’s a sickness bug or a mental health day – speaking to your child’s teacher about keeping up on work can help ensure, even if your child is sick, they don’t fall behind on their work.

For parents, watching out for consistent symptoms for not wanting to attend, such as headaches or stomach aches, can ensure you don’t miss out on issues your child is facing at school. Problems with classmates, teachers, or grades can manifest as physical symptoms. Knowing when your child is ill or just struggling with school is vital to ensure you can support your child to succeed in their education by getting them help when they need it.

Take the time to talk about their education

We all know the phrase ‘don’t take work home with you.’ Often, it’s all too easy to forget about a stressful day and talk about easier topics. But for children, talking about their day and what school was like can be vital to help you support their education. Knowing the books your child is reading, the subject they’re covering in science, or even the sports they’re doing in gym class can be valuable to you and your child.

If you show interest in the academic lives of your child, they’re far more likely to take school just as seriously. Communication is vital to helping children succeed, so take the opportunity to chat in the car, walk the dog, or stand in line at the DMV. Taking the opportunity to talk about the school can make a massive difference to your child’s perception of their learning and the importance of taking education seriously.

How do you support your child to do better in school?