It is October and your child is now two months into the new school year. Homework and exams are increasing, progress reports have been sent out and you may be feeling lost in how to help your child if he or she is struggling with school this year. It is not too late to help support your student and establish good patterns that can lead to a more successful year. Here are three easy steps, or the ABC’s of helping your child in school.
A- Attendance. It can be easy to minimize the impact of missing a day of school here or there but the fact of the matter is your child must be in school to learn and participate. Missing one day of school can lead to missed assignments or exams as well as missed opportunities to communicate with school staff and teachers. Missed days can impact your child’s overall performance and grades. Absence can create a hole in their understanding of what has been taught and your child may feel behind or as if catching back up is difficult. Emphasizing attendance early in their academic career can develop good habits toward consistency and attendance in high school, college and even their future career. It is never too early to promote consistent attendance and dependability.
B- Bedtime, Backpack and Breakfast. What do these three things have in common? They are all part of a helpful routine and if there is anything I would like to highlight for you and your child it is the importance of routine. If your child is feeling tired, hungry or out of sorts it may be more difficult to focus and make the most of their day. Setting a realistic but early bedtime, preparing for the next day, winding down with a nighttime routine and then starting the morning with a calm, consistent schedule is a way to help your child be successful before they even step foot in the classroom. By nature we strive for consistency and pattern; we like to know what to expect. Your child will feel more stable, calm and focused if their daily routine is steady and regular.
C- Communicate and Cheerlead. You are your child’s best advocate and cheerleader. Do you have questions or concerns, ask them. Call or email your child’s teacher, set up a meeting or attend a parent-teacher conference. Making your presence known in your child’s academic arena means they have a partner in this journey and their teachers may become more engaging and communicative if they feel that you are on board. It is important not only to communicate with school staff but also with your child. Be inquisitive about their day, their friends and their lives. Asking questions such as “who did you sit with today at school?”, “what was something different that happened?” or “what is a way that your teacher helps you learn?” can open dialogue between you and your child. Allowing your relationship with your child to be a safe space for talking provides you the opportunity to support your child and be available if they need help as the school year continues.
Helping your child not only survive this school year but thrive and grow is possible. You can do it, one simple step at a time.