by Carol Chandler-Wood
MAKE EDUCATION A PRIORITY IN YOUR HOME
It is important for a child’s success academically that his/her parents insist that academics come before any other extracurricular activities. It is a student’s job to be in school. I tell students often, “Your parents go to work each day. Your job each day is to be a student”. If a student has below level abilities or poor study habits and attitudes, those problems must be addressed in order for him/her to be a successful student. A student attending the school’s extra help programs and attending tutorial meetings with teachers to work before or after school hours, must come before club meetings or athletic practices. If you are a parent who takes your child to ball practice even though he/she is making poor grades and/or demonstrating lousy study skills and attitudes, you have sent the wrong message to the student, one that academics is second to other priorities.
BECOME PART OF THE TEAM WITH YOUR CHILD’S TEACHERS AND SCHOOL
It is a known fact that children do better in school when their parents are involved in their education. Let you children know that you and their teachers and school are on the same page, working towards the same goals. You must present a united front to your children with those involved in their education. If and when you disagree with a teacher, never let your children know this. Take your issue privately to the teacher and discuss your concerns candidly. You will most likely be enlightened by your meeting with the teacher and learn things about your children’s academics that you did not know. If children know their parents disagree with their teachers about a topic, they will often use that as their excuse for not being successful.
HOLD YOUR CHILDREN ACCOUNTABLE AND RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR SCHOOL WORK
When your children are successful in school, be sure to congratulate them and tell them how proud you are of their effort, attitude, and accomplishment. When they are not successful because they have not applied themselves and demonstrated poor study strategies and attitudes, hold them accountable by having consequences in place. You must be sure to then hold firm to the consequences you have set. Children will often argue and yell to try to get their way. You must stay calm and firm with them while reminding yourself you are in charge. It is your job as a parent to teach your children responsibility and accountability for their choices regarding their school work. Otherwise, they will not perform to their abilities and they will most likely carry irresponsibility into other areas of their lives.
CATCH YOUR CHILDREN DOING THINGS WELL
It is so easy to correct our children and point out all the things we want them to do better. After all, isn’t that our job to correct them? Maybe so, but you will find that by catching them doing something good or correct instead of always something bad or incorreect will have far reaching positive effects! The first time you catch them doing something good and state, “John, I am so impressed with the way you put together your science project” or “Wow, Susan you really attacked the material for that test”, they will give you a look that says, “What is up with you?”. Don’t react, just move on to another topic. It is amazing to see the impact your positive comments will have on your children. These positive remarks will fuel more positive behaviors from your children.
By practicing these principles regarding your children’s academics, changes will begin to take place. Remember, however, like your children, you will have good and bad days yourself employing these new principles. When you falter, pick yourself up and resume your new strategy. It took time for your children to get into the academic position they are currently in and it will take some time to resolve it.