Children can achieve well at school when their family and friends take an interest in their school and schoolwork. Getting involved in your child’s education, even in the simplest way, shows that you care about their school life. Often, the more supported a child feels at home, the more effectively she or he will learn at school. Whatever your lifestyle, or family situation, it is never too soon (or too late) to start helping a child develop a positive attitude towards learning.
Family Lives appreciates that time can be a factor in busy families but there are ways of being involved in your child's education without feeling overwhelmed. If you are a non-resident parent, it is equally as important to be involved in your child's learning too. This can give your child far greater goals and inspire them to try their best where they can.
Helping your child get the best out of school
Try to give encouragement and show appreciation of your child’s achievements, whether great or small, as this can help boost their confidence. Teach them basic organisation and time management skills so they are not overwhelmed with projects or homework. Be realistic and avoid putting your child under pressure by having over-high expectations. Let your child develop at their own pace, but if you do have concerns, please speak to their teacher.
Try to give feedback rather than criticism, e.g. saying ‘that didn’t seem to work’ rather than ‘you got it wrong’. This helps them think about where they went wrong and how they can improve in future, rather than just feeling like a failure.
You might find contacting the school or talking to your child’s teachers difficult, or think they will not have time for you. But finding out more about their school life and what they are learning shows your child how much you care about their education. And getting to know the school and the teachers is the best way of finding out more.
Tips to help you keep up with what’s happening at the school
- Make sure your child gives you any letters that are sent home.
- Look out for notices and posters for parents.
- If you can, check the school website.
- Try to make it to the fun events, like school fairs, and to parents’ evenings.
- If you are worried about anything, go and talk to a teacher. They will want to help.
Out of school support
Often parents like to introduce a variety of interests in and out of school too so children have the opportunity to explore other interests that they enjoy. Learn together, do things together, visit interesting places, talk about things you’ve seen on television and encourage your child to ask questions. Support their reading development by having books, magazines and newspapers in the home and let your child see you and other family members reading them.
When a child comes home from school, they may be tired so try not to fire too many questions of your child as soon as they walk through the door. They may be tired or hungry and not feel like talking. Be available to listen later if they want to talk.