Research consistently underscores the importance of parental involvement in children’s education. As parents, though, it can be hard to know when and how to contribute. If you want to be more engaged but aren’t sure where to start, here are three ways you can help your kids do better in school.
Listen and Sympathize
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Before you can help your children, you need to know what’s going on. As important as talking to their teachers is, doing that will only give you one side of the story. Take some time to talk to your kids and get their perspective on what’s happening. Make sure your children feel heard, understood, and encouraged. Open up about your own school struggles and sympathize with what your kids are going through.
Before having this conversation, it’s a good idea to read some articles about active listening. Being a good listener will strengthen your relationship with your children and establish you as someone who they can turn to for support. Also, taking the time to listen and make your kids feel important will do more to motivate your child than a lecture about the importance of getting into a good college.
Make School a Priority
It’s easy to tell your kids that school is important — but you need to back that up with the routines, rules, and rewards you put in place. Start by setting aside time for them to do their homework each night while cutting back on TV and video game time, if necessary. Ask if they need help with anything, whether it’s making flash cards, studying for a test, or working through some algebra problems. Your kids will be able to tell how serious you are by how willing you are to invest your own time and attention in their academic efforts. Lead by example.
You can also foster a love of learning by encouraging your children to read, explore, and ask questions. Take them to the library regularly and let them see you check out books for yourself — not just for them. Show interest in what they’re learning at school and look for ways to connect those concepts to their everyday lives.
Encourage Healthy Habits
Studies show a strong correlation between physical health and academic achievement. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), nutritional deficits are associated with lower grades, absenteeism, and tardiness. Additionally, the CDC found a positive association between physical activity and academic performance. Recess, extracurricular activities, and physical education classes have all been linked to better grades and behavior.
Set your children up for success by making sure they eat a balanced breakfast and get the nutrients they need throughout the day. If you need help planning healthy meals for your student, consider using Lifesum, a food-tracking app that can help you manage the calories and nutrients your family is consuming. You should also encourage your kids to stay active by joining an athletic team or finding some other physical activity they enjoy, like riding their bike, swimming, or jumping rope.
Whether your kids are struggling with their grades or their classroom behavior, your involvement could make all the difference. Taking a more active role will show that you care and want to help them succeed.