Farm workers often have grueling work schedules that do not allow them to spend as much time with their children as they would like. While recognizing the demands work can have, it is crucial that parents commit to supporting a successful academic environment in order to optimize their children’s opportunities. Whether through parents’ direct involvement or use of a support network, here are 10 ways you can help your kids become successful students.
1 Attend Back-to-School Night and Parent-Teacher Conferences
Kids do better in school when parents are involved in their academic lives. Attending back-to-school night at the start of the school year is a great way to get to know your child’s teacher and their expectations. School administrators may also discuss school-wide programs that offer assistance to working parents.
Attending parent-teacher conferences is another way to stay informed. The conferences are a chance to start or continue conversations with your child’s teacher, and discuss strategies to help your child do his or her best in class.
Keep in mind that parents or guardians can request meetings with teachers, principals, school counselors, or other school staff at any time during the school year.
2 Visit the School and Its Website
Taking the time to familiarize yourself with the physical layout of the school building and grounds can help you connect with your child when you talk about the school day. It’s good to know the location of the main office, school nurse, cafeteria, gym, athletic fields, playgrounds, auditorium, and special classes. On the school website,
you can fi nd information about:
- the school calendar date
- staff contact information
- upcoming events like class trips
- testing dates
3 Support Homework
Make sure your child knows that you see homework as a priority. Homework reinforces lessons, extends classroom learning, and helps kids practice important study skills. It also helps them develop a sense of responsibility and a work ethic that will benefit them outside of the classroom.
While your child does homework, it is important to have someone available to help interpret assignment instructions, offer guidance, answer questions, and review the completed work. Resist the urge to provide the correct answers or complete the assignments yourself. Making mistakes and learning from them is an important step for your child.
4 Send Your Child to School Ready to Learn
A nutritious breakfast provides kids with the fuel they need for the day. In general, kids who eat breakfast have more energy and do better in school.
You can help boost your child’s attention span, concentration, and memory by providing breakfast foods that are rich in whole grains, fiber, and protein, and are low in added sugar.
Kids also need the right amount of sleep to be alert and ready to learn during the day. Most school-aged kids need 10 to 12 hours of sleep a night.
Lack of sleep can cause irritable or hyper types of behavior and might make it difficult for kids to pay attention in class. It is important to have a consistent bedtime routine, especially on school nights.
5 Teach Organizational Skills
What does it mean to be organized at the elementary level? For schoolwork, it means having an assignment book and homework folder (many schools supply these) to keep track of homework and projects.
Check your child’s assignment book and homework folder every school night so you’re familiar with assignments and can help keep your child on track.
Talk to your child about keeping his or her school desk orderly so work, forms, and supplies don’t get lost. Teach your child how to use a calendar or personal planner to help stay organized.
It’s also helpful to teach your child how to make a simple to-do list to help prioritizeand get things done.
6 Teach Study Skills
Studying for a test can be scary for young kids, and many educators assume parents will help their kids study during the grade-school years. Introducing your child to study skills now will pay off with good learning habits throughout life.
In elementary school, kids usually take end-of-unit tests in math, spelling, science, and social studies. Be sure to know when a test is scheduled so you can help your child study ahead of time rather than the night before.
7 Know the
Disciplinary Policies Schools usually cite their disciplinary policies (sometimes called the student code of conduct) in student handbooks. The rules cover expectations, and consequences for not meeting the expectations, for things like student behavior, dress codes, use of electronic devices, and acceptable language.
It’s important for your child to know what’s expected at school and that you’ll support the school’s rules and consequences when expectations aren’t met. It’s beneficial for students when school expectations match the ones at home, so kids see both environments as safe and caring places that work together as a team.
8 Get Involved
Volunteering at the school is a great way for parents to show they are interested in their kids’ education. Many grade-schoolers like to see their parents at school or at school events.
Check the school’s website or ask your child’s teachers if there are volunteer opportunities available that fit your schedule. Giving a few hours during the school year can make a lasting impression on your child.
9 Take Attendance Seriously
It is a good idea to know the school’s attendance policy. Sick kids should stay home from school if they have a fever, are nauseous, vomiting, or have diarrhea. Otherwise, it’s important that kids arrive to school on time every day, because having to catch up with class work and homework can be stressful and interfere with learning.
It is also important to avoid late bedtimes, which can result in tardy and tired students. A consistent sleep schedule can help.
10 Make Time to Talk About School
It is easy to talk with elementary students about what’s going on in class and at school, but it’s just as easy for parents to become busy and forget to ask questions, which can have an effect on a
child’s success at school
Make time to talk with your child every day, so he or she knows that what goes on at school is important to you. Be sure to ask questions that go beyond “yes” or “no” answers. When kids know parents are interested in their academic lives, they’ll take school seriously as well.
These early years of schooling are an important time for parents to be informed and supportive about their child’s education.