School Conversations with Kids

Would you say yes or no to this statement:  I talk with my child about school, help with schoolwork and attend school events.  As a former school administrator, I noticed that parents seldom speak with their kids about school.  They often do not have an idea about projects, grades, attendance, or what they have coming up in their classes.  The kids notice this lack of attention and will often take advantage of the lapse to not perform their best.  When we take time as parents to have a conversation with our kids about school, the importance of turning in their work regularly, being dependable by showing up on time for class, having their books and papers, and attending regularly, we help them to keep going when the routine of school sets in for them.  I like to encourage kids to keep going right at the end of the first quarter when things start to slack.  Take time to remind them that the end of the semester is coming up quickly and that the final nine-weeks is only about seven weeks because the last couple of weeks will have exams and preparations for them.  By shortening the time they have to show their best performance, we help them to keep going when they feel like it doesn’t matter or that they can slack-off.

In alignment with this, it is helping kids with homework and showing your willingness to take time in the evening to read what they have written, or to check math homework or the like.  It helps us as parents to stay abreast of what they are learning in school, to ask intelligent questions of the teachers that show your knowledge of the curriculum and what is being studied.  You may even ask why something is taught like it is and put the teacher in a spot to explain the curriculum concepts to you.  Finally, attending school events is of paramount importance.  I want to suggest that there is nothing more important in your life than to make room for their school-related events.  When we show support to our kids, we show them that we care, that we are proud of them taking time to participate in something school or other related events.

I want to encourage parents to talk with their kids about school, take time to check the various electronic means available to monitor their performance.  When questions arise, contact the teacher, the counselor, or the school administrator.  Stay on top of what they are learning, their attendance, their tardies, and preparedness for class.  Second, to sit with them occasionally and help with their homework.  By doing that, you are showing them that you care, that you want them to do well. You will also learn a bit about how they learn and where they are struggling by getting some first-hand time with them on homework.  Finally, attend all of the child’s events through college.  Make every effort to show your support by being there, talking with them in advance of a game, talking it up, having the whole family there to support them.  All of these will make a massive difference in your child’s preparedness for life.

Yours for Better Parenting,

Rich