When parents are involved in their children’s education at home, they do better in school. And when parents are involved in school, children go farther in school — and the schools they go to are better. Gurian, Goodman, and Schwartz outline some things parents can do:
- Be aware of the different age-related, social and academic challenges children face at various stages and that times of transition can be an added stress. Also know the specific needs of the child that makes transitions harder.
- Consider personal and family situations that may impact the child and make a particular year more difficult. Inform and collaborate with the school staff to obtain the best support.
- Prepare the child for new school experiences by discussing the changes beforehand and phase in necessary adjustments ahead of time. For example, at the end of a vacation gradually set an earlier bedtime to make entry into the new routine smoother.
- Young children can be helped to separate from parents and interact with new school-mates by providing them with opportunities to spend time with friends or relatives without their parents. Arrange play dates, play groups and other opportunities for socialization. Introduce some school-type activities at home, such as story time, snack time, and rest time.
- Form a partnership with the child’s teachers and school personnel. In meetings, listen to their point of view and let them explain their expectations. Children can behave differently at home than in school when under stress from academic and social challenges.
- Keep hands off assignments; act as a guide or resource for children. Discuss possible ways to do the assignment, but don’t actually do the work.
- If homework keeps the child up well past the usual bedtime, despite the fact that the child is putting forth his or her best effort, discuss the issue with the teacher. The aim of both parents and teachers should be to prevent parent/child homework conflict and to help the child avoid feeling incompetent.
- Be alert to the specific situations or types of assignments that are particularly difficult for your child. Investigate the problem with the school and consider obtaining an educational evaluation.
- Consider both the student and teacher partners in the education process. If your child is experiencing social, academic or homework quandaries, include both the student and teacher in open discussions about the specifics of the problem and in developing.
Gurian, A; Goodman, R.F., Schwartz, S. (2006) Transition Points: Helping Students Start, Change, and Move Through the Grades.