As your child moves through elementary, middle, and high school they will need a strong support system. Throughout my 9 years as a school social worker, I’ve worked with many parents who struggle with how much or how little they should be involved in their child’s education. Below are some tips on ways in which you can get involved and ensure your child has a great year.
- Monitor your child’s grades–from a distance!
The last thing your son or daughter wants is to have a conversation with you every day about every single assignment and grade. You also don’t want to stay completely out of the picture only to find out after it’s too late your child has done poorly. I often suggest that parents have a weekly “meeting” every Friday with their child about the progress they made throughout the week. Discuss any missing assignments or low grades. Brainstorm with your child ways in which they can make improvements over the next week. If necessary, you may choose to give consequences for intentional mistakes–not completing homework or failing to study for a big test resulting in a bad grade may be grounds for the loss of some privileges.
- Get to know your child’s teachers
Your child’s teachers will be your first line of defense when you have concerns about their performance in school; whether it be academic, social, emotional, or behavioral. I always appreciate when parents send me an introductory email letting me know what their child has struggled with in the past, what their strengths are and how I can best reach them. Emails have become the preferred method of communication among many school staff so don’t hesitate to use it. That being said though, teachers are often more than happy to set up a meeting or talk with you over the phone about any concerns you are having about your child. Be sure to also attend all open houses or parent-teacher conferences if your schedule allows it. A face to face meeting can be valuable time for both the parent and teacher than can not be accomplished through email or phone calls.
- If your child needs help, ask for it
There may be times when your your child is struggling and either doesn’t want to ask for help, or doesn’t know how to. While contacting your child’s teachers may be your first step, there are many other professionals also available to support student needs and address parent concerns. Guidance counselors, school social workers, deans, and school psychologists are just a few of the staff members that can help. They can connect you with additional academic support, address bullying, provide counseling, or connect your with resources in the community that may address your child’s individual needs.
There are many ways to ensure your child has a happy and productive school year. If you are struggling with how to best support your child in school, the staff at Gurnee Counseling Center can help. Contact us at (847) 336-5621 for more information.