Once you have completed the back to school lists (supplies and new attire, etc.) the reality that summer is over sets in. It is time to decide how you can best help your student have a successful school year. Every parent wants their child to do well in school, but often it is a challenge to know how to do support school success.

Elementary Students

Help them develop good study habits from an early age. Homework time is a stressful time of day in many homes. Would you like your child to be more positive about doing their homework? One highly successful technique is to set up a motivational system. Sit with your child and create a chart of the things they like to do. It may include playing with legos, watching TV, playing computer games, or earning an outing or after homework treat. Decide together how many points or stickers are required to earn each item. Then agree on how many points or stickers will be given for completing each homework assignment or for completing assigned chores.

Another important aspect of being successful in school is to have organizational skills. It is never too early to start teaching and modeling good organizational skills.

Concerned about your child missing school due to illness? Teach them to wash their hands throughout the day. Healthy hygiene tips can be found in the “CDC’s Guide to Handwashing” (http://www.portapotty.net/handwashing).

More information can be found on https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/help-gradeschooler-homework.html/ This publication is provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

Middle School Students

Older students also need parental support. They need to get enough sleep and eat a nourishing breakfast. Learn the disciplinary policy of your child’s school and find out each teacher’s expectations by attending “Back to School Night.” Become a team with your child’s teachers to ensure that both you and your child understand each teacher’s expectations. Encourage your child to have a specific place and time to complete homework so they are able to turn it in on time.

For more ideas to support your child, review the Parent Tool Kit found at www.parenttoolkit.com

High School Students

High school students are often overwhelmed by the demands that projects and major tests can bring. Help them learn how to break these demands into smaller, manageable tasks. Show them how to set up completion times through the use of an agenda or day minder. This will allow them to avoid the stress of waiting to the last minute to complete a large project or to study for an important test. Last minute preparations rarely bring the desired results.

Encourage your older student to begin early to acquire the volunteer hours needed for graduation. Assist them in finding community organizations and issues that interest them and that will offer a real learning experience. Local opportunities can be found on Volunteer Match (https://volunteermatch.org).

All Ages

A positive attitude is important for students of all ages. Your encouragement and support will help them stay positive and be successful throughout their school career.

Let your child know that you value his/her education by monitoring the homework and letting your student know the homework must be done. Help your child with homework by making sure there is a quiet place to work. This should be considered a special place, whether it is a desk in their bedroom or the kitchen table. Good lighting is important. Make sure they have the resources they might need available, such as writing paper, erasers, pens pencils and a dictionary. You might also wish to have a thesaurus and an almanac, as well as index cards, a calculator, pencil sharpener, ruler, stapler, maps, glue, tape, paste, a ruler and paper clips. Try to keep all the supplies in one place, perhaps a small basket would work. If you cannot provide all the needed supplies, there may be assistance available. Check with your child’s teacher, principal or school counselor.

Remember, you want to support your child in his homework endeavors, not do the homework for him/her. If you help too much, the teacher will know. Help your student gain confidence by becoming independent in his academic effort. Create a lifelong learner through your support and teach your child that learning is fun.

If your child needs some academic support throughout the school year, please visit Breaking Barriers To Learning (breakingbarrierstolearning.com) to find out how we can help. We wish you and your student a fulfilling and successful school year.