The topic of education is always in the news.  Politicians and educators debate the causes of low test scores, students not attending or dropping out of school.  They discuss what needs to be added or taken away from the classroom to help American children succeed in school and life.  It might be true that changes in the curriculum and the environment might help a child, but the most important part of this equation is the support of a parent or guardian.  Without the support of a parent or guardian the child will most likely struggle. 

This is no longer an era which allows parents to parent at home and leave all learning up to the teacher.  Parents are being held accountable for the actions of their children and rightfully so.  Despite your work schedule or the complexity of your home life, the educational system and your child are relying on you to support your child at home.  If you are thinking that this is a tough and time consuming job, you are right.  It is, but here are a few tips to get you on track.

Child Advocate

You are your child’s advocate.  Right or wrong you must support your child.  You must guide and teach them along the way on how to make good choices and learn from the bad ones.  Ask questions about their day and know what is going on with them socially and academically.  Know the names of their friends and teachers.

Homework Advisor

Sit with them as they complete their homework.  If you are not able to help with the work, simply sitting at the table with them will communicate that you are interested in their learning.  This is also a great time to ask your child to teach you or explain the subject matter they are learning about.  If a child or any individual can teach what they have learned, it is a huge sign of understanding and comprehension.  You have successfully helped them reinforce what they are learning at school.  If your child is elementary age, check their homework nightly.

Expectations and Consequences.

Everyone wants to know they matter and one way to show a child they matter is through expectations and consequences.  All children should have responsibilities, boundaries and clear expectations for their actions.  Try to stay positive and supportive, no matter how much you are tested.

Parent/Teacher/School Relationship

Stay in contact with your child’s teacher or teachers.  It might become more difficult the older they become, but this is an important relationship you must make and keep.  Also, support your child’s school by picking a few dates throughout the year to volunteer, attend a game, fundraiser or play.  This shows the school and most importantly, your child, you are involved and dedicated to them.

Being a parent is serious business.  Supporting and advocating for your child is mandatory for their success in life.  The schools and teachers need your help.  If after reading over this list of ways to help your child, you feel overwhelmed, make an appointment to speak with the principal, school counselor or a teacher.  They all will have techniques or strategies you can use to be the best parent you can be.  Good luck and thank you!