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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

Most people understand that the best students do not rely on tutors; rather, they are the products of a good home environment, fine parenting, and personal initiative and strong motivation. Home and family life are the big contributors to student learning and accomplishment, and this is true around the world. Parental involvement in their children’s schoolwork, along with a range of enrichment activities, seems to help children do better in school.

Why differences in performance?
Research shows that achievement in school is not entirely about I.Q.; it’s about attitude and behavior. Productive students act in a certain manner. They have the “right” outlook, are motivated, pay attention, act calmly, and are not easily distracted from learning. In addition, when they require assistance with schoolwork, they know how to get it. However, none of these qualities is innate; they must be learned, and parents are the perfect people to teach their children these most advantageous characteristics.

The U.S. Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) has published the four stages children pass through to become better students, which are applicable to all school-aged children. These steps are: (1) paying attention, (2) staying interested in schoolwork, (3) learning and remembering, and (4) studying.

Ways to Help Your Child Do Better in School

  • Parental involvement is key: Parental involvement is the most important factor in how well children do in school, no matter what their ethnic background or economic level. By being there when they have a question, encouraging them to make time for schoolwork and more, parents help their children thrive in the classroom and beyond.
  • Create a home environment that supports learning: Home is where learning begins. Therefore, creating an environment that supports learning strongly influences how well children perform in the classroom. Provide opportunities to become excited about learning by stocking the home with suitable materials such as word games, puzzles and an accessible computer to arouse their inquisitiveness.
  •  Fashion a well-balanced life: A stable, harmonious home, filled with understanding and love, goes a long way once a child steps outside the home and into the world. They take those influences with them. Their hearts and minds are filled with more confidence than children whose homes are full of negativity and zero guidance. A well-balanced foundation supports a child to learn more and receive better grades. Set up schedules so your children get enough sleep, eat healthy meals regularly, and receive enough exercise. Restrict TV viewing along with video and computer games.
  • Instill the habit of tackling homework: Doing homework strengthens children’s resolve to learn more in school. Help them learn how to balance their time and encourage their independence in figuring out how to allocate the time to finish their homework promptly and complete other responsibilities too. Help them understand which assignments need to be finished first and how to plan their time. Persuade them not to go too quickly but to think about each assignment as a learning experience.

Parents are a child’s first and most important teacher. When parents are involved in their children’s schooling, the child does better and feels better about going to school. Moreover, what a family does is more valuable to a child’s school achievements than how much income the family has or how educated the parents are.

As the above examples illustrate, academic success comes to a child when parents support their children’s learning at home throughout the school year. In addition to the above ideas, talking to your child about school is also important. Children spend hours each day at school, so surely there is plenty to talk about! Furthermore, developing a healthy relationship with your children’s teachers makes it easier to address problems that may occur.

About the author:
Erica L. Fener, Ph.D., is Vice President, Business Development Strategy and Analysis at Progressus Therapy, a leader in connecting their candidates with school-based occupational therapy jobs and early intervention service jobs.