Our students, teachers, and parents are officially one month into the school year. Academic success not only prepares children for further learning and their futures, but also contributes to their overall well-being. According to the Journal of Applied Sciences, children who experience academic success have higher self-esteem and report lower levels of anxiety and depression. Below are some tips to help you assist the students in your life develop great school habits and have a stellar school year!
Elementary School Students
One of the best things a parent or caregiver of an elementary schooler can do is attend school events and parent-teacher conferences. Showing up reinforces to your child that you are invested in their education and allows you to build a great rapport with the school staff who will help you understand your child’s overall academic experience. Continue building success at home by creating structure that balances work and play. Help your child prioritize the tasks they need to complete after-school with short, easy to-do lists. Keep it simple such as “Homework, Play Outside, and Complete Chores.” Develop organizational skills with them by encouraging them to keep their homework folders in order. Finally, be sure to craft open communication with your child about school! Create conversations with your child about school that are constructive and reflective. This will help them think of school in a positive light and also help them develop interpersonal skills. Here are some of our favorite questions to ask your elementary school student to start conversations about school:
- What made you smile today?
- If you could have changed one thing about today, what would that be?
- Tell me something you know today that you didn’t know yesterday.
Middle School Students
Graduating from elementary school and transitioning to middle school is a big transformation. . Homework is a big part of that change. Create realistic homework expectations with your student. Responsibilities in middle school increase and it is best to collaborate with your child in crafting an after-school plan that prioritizes completing homework. Assist them in identifying what works best for them in terms of when and how they want to complete their homework. Help them stick to the routine they design for themselves, which will get them invested in the homework process. Another way to help them succeed with these new responsibilities is to start developing independent study skills. Introduce them to using a planner to map out when tests and important assignments are due and create a study plan. Ask them how they study best and support their plan. When appropriate, this age is also perfect to encourage them to collaborate with their peers through study sessions, which can happen face to face, or virtually! The last crucial piece to school success for middle schoolers is to focus on their mental health. Middle school is a time of constant transition and change which can lead to a lack of confidence, anxiety, and depression. Talk candidly with your child about how they feel about their school experience. Be realistic about their academic accomplishments and experiences and celebrate every win with them, no matter how big or small!
High School Students
Don’t just focus on your child’s GPA – focus on their growth as a person as well. Encourage them to identify and pursue their passions through extracurricular activities. Sports, clubs, and community engagement are all wonderful outlets to allow your youth to explore paths they might want to follow after graduating. Help them identify their strengths academically and socially which will bolster their confidence. Channel these strengths to next help your student plan for future success. It’s never too early in their high school career to have conversations about your child’s future and what steps they need to take to get there. Take this one step further by encouraging your child to connect with individuals that can help them achieve that success. Connect them to counselors, community leaders, and role models who can also serve as encouraging adults in their life. With the serious pressures that can come during high school, it is crucial to continue to prioritize your student’s mental health. High school students report higher instances of stress, anxiety, and depression. Create open and non-judgmental lines of communication with your child so they know that they can talk with you candidly about worries in their life. The most important thing to do is to validate their emotions. Work through tough times together by supporting your child to recognize when they need to take a step back and focus on their self-care. And remember, high school doesn’t define us. A child who doesn’t “do well” in high school is not destined for an unfulfilling life or career!
All children deserve the encouragement they need to succeed in school. Building on these tips from elementary school through high school will create an atmosphere of support. As Frederick Douglass stated, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” When we prioritize school success for the children in our lives we build strong children, strong adults, and strong future leaders.