Supporting Your Student
With your child back at school, you take on a different role than “summer parent.” It’s time to tune into your child’s strengths, weaknesses, and needs as they begin this new year. Your support for them may be just the thing they need to succeed. Every child is different, and you know yours best. But if you find yourself at a loss, or unsure of how to best support them, here are some ideas:
Ask them about their day:
Don’t just ask “How was your day,” and leave it at that. Ask specific questions. Ask about their friends, their teacher, what they struggled with today, what they did well today, etc. The more specific you are, the more information you’ll get. The more information you get, the better you’ll understand your child and their school experience. Three great places to do this are the car, the dinner table, and before bed.
When your child is talking to you (whether you initiated the conversation or not), really listen. That means put your phone down. PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN. That means turn the car radio down. That means ask follow-up questions. It’s especially important to listen because you may hear more than they’re saying.
Help with their homework (but don’t do it for them):
You’re busy. But giving your child a half-hour of your time to help them with their homework could make a huge difference in their education. You’ll learn what they’re struggling with and in which ways they excel. You’ll find out if you need to contact the teacher about any problem areas. You’ll know what questions to ask them later.
Push them to do well:
Not all kids are internally motivated all the time. Sometimes they need a gentle push to do their best, to follow through, and to work hard.
Even if they don’t get an A, but you know they did their best, praise their efforts. Don’t simply tell them they’re smart; praise their hard work, their determination, their tenacity. Tell them you are proud of them, and tell them how much you love them. Your voice is the voice your kids hear inside their heads when they face a challenge. Let there be a wealth of positive phrases they’ll hear!
Build a good parent-teacher relationship:
Know your child’s teacher and communicate with them well. This relationship is important and can break down any miscommunication that may arise.
Understand that your child isn’t perfect- but your child might face some struggles that require intervention (academically, socially, etc.). Speak up on their behalf and help them make the best of their education. You won’t be able to “fix” everything, but you can be their voice if they need one.
You may do these things already, but if not, start today! Your support will mean the world to your child.