Education Matters to Parents Who Are Involved

By Donna Moore Wesby

The following practical advice for parents of elementary school children was written and compiled by Donna Moore Wesby with some contributions from Ms. Rosie Berry, Ms. Peggy Trivelas, and “The Parent Institute” newsletters.

Generally, involved parents make the difference between those students who excel academically and those who struggle.  Here are a few practical tips to help place your child on the right path.

  • Enforce a consistent bed time.  Elementary aged children are still growing physically.  Sleep is imperative for a healthy body and a brain ready to learn.  Try to ensure your child receives nine to 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep nightly.
  • Start each day with a healthy breakfast.  Sugar-filled treats start children off very hyper.  Once the sugar wears off, they experience a sugar crash which could lead to inattention and being sluggish.  Breakfast is just like gas in a vehicle.  It provides the energy a child needs to think and learn.
  • Instill a sense of responsibility.  Hold your children accountable for bringing home books, reading, studying, and completing homework.  Allow them to make age-appropriate decisions and make sure you provide consequences for poor choices.
  • Talk with your children daily.  Ask specific questions on what your child learned each day.  Don’t ask closed-ended questions, which allow them to only respond “yes” or “no.”  For example, “Did you have a good day at school?”  Change your question to “What did you learn in English today?”
  • Attend open houses and parent-teacher conferences.  When teachers know you care by taking the time to show up, it’s better for you and your child.  Building this relationship is crucial to your child’s educational success.  Make sure your child’s teacher knows how to contact you at any time. If your number or address changes, make sure to inform the school/teacher.
  • Allow your child to read to you daily.  Reading is the fundamental foundation to learning. Allowing your child to read to you at least 20 minutes daily will expose any problems early on so that you can request help, seek tutoring, talk to teachers, etc.
  • Check your child’s book bag daily. Oftentimes in elementary school, schools will send home weekly/monthly newsletters with information you need to know affecting your child or the school. Furthermore, teachers may send home notes regarding your child’s activities, behavior, etc.
  • Designate a place for learning.  Children develop habits (good and bad) early in life.  Setting up a designated place conducive to learning will get your child in the habit of learning once they enter the “learning zone.”  Make sure the area is free from noise and other distractions.
  • Celebrate your child’s successes.  It’s very easy for children to become discouraged if they don’t measure up to other children’s achievements.  Whatever the success is, no matter how large or small, encourage your child and celebrate with them (i.e. good attendance; grade improvements, good behavior).
  • Pray with your child daily.  When your child hears you praying for him/her, it teaches them to depend on the Lord the way it’s demonstrated in you.  Furthermore, when your child knows you have petitioned God on their behalf, they are more confident in their abilities and more determined to please you and God.