Making a Difference in Your Child’s Educational Experience

Studies show that children tend to do better in school when their parents and caretakers involve themselves in their formal education.  Some of the benefits of parental involvement include: higher grades and test scores; long term academic achievement; increased motivation and self esteem; and more positive attitudes and behaviors.

Parents can take the following steps to further their children’s academic progress:

· Establish regular routines.  Include time for studying, household chores, meals, and a regular bedtime.

· Show interest. Inquire about his or her assignments and progress; stay in touch with school staff.

· Monitor out-of-school activities.  Set limits on TV time; arrange for productive after school activities, including supervised care for younger children.

· Model the value of learning, self-discipline, and hard work. Demonstrate that achievement comes from hard work by showing the work you put into tasks and the success that it yields.

· Emphasize learning and effort as opposed to external rewards or grades. Promote long-term success by encouraging your child to focus on the material itself. Use grades to help your child measure progress and decide what material needs more focus.  Avoid offering too many rewards for academic achievement.

· Express high but realistic expectations. Set appropriate goals for your child’s age and ability.  Recognize his or her talents and inform friends and family when he is demonstrating persistence and hard work.

· Encourage reading, writing and discussion among family members. Read with your children, and discuss what you read!

· Encourage your child’s “ownership” of his education. Even as you promote academic success, make sure that you are clear that schoolwork is his job and his alone.  Refrain from “nagging” about homework; set up logical consequences, such as less screen time, for failure to finish work.

Involving yourself in the school community can also benefit your child.  Communicating regularly with the school, getting to know teachers, attending back to school nights, and even becoming an active member of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) can all help your monitor your child’s academic development and advocate effectively, generating further success.

If a child is having difficulty in a particular subject, tutoring can help.  Many times the schools provide tutoring, but if they do not, you can also find tutors privately or through community organizations.  A school’s PTA is usually a great link to tutoring resources.


Henderson, A., et. Al. A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family, and Community Connections on Student Achievement, SEDL: 2002

National PTA. PTA Position Statement on Parent Involvement [Data file]. Retrieved from (2010)


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