- Ask about their homework - what it is, when it’s due - and check to make sure they do it.
- Provide a quiet place, with a good light and away from distractions, for them to do homework.
- Make sure they get a good night’s sleep each night and eat a healthy, substantial breakfast each morning.
- Talk to them about school for at least a few minutes each day to let them know you’re interested and that you think school is important.
- Teach them respect for others and responsibility for their own behavior.
- Make sure they get regular health and dental check-ups.
- Limit children’s exposure to television and video games.
- Be positive about school. If parents say "I wasn’t good at school" or "I really didn’t like school," this can turn children away from learning.
- Check your children’s school websites regularly to keep informed.
- Attend back-to-school nights and parent-teacher nights to meet your children’s teachers.
- IF you are concerned about something, meet with your children’s teachers promptly, before a minor issue becomes a major problem.
- If possible, volunteer - regularly or even just occasionally - at your children’s schools. You will get to know the school better and show your children that you consider education very important.
For Elementary School Students
- Read to your children or look at a book with them for at least 5 - 15 minutes each day.
- Have books and magazines appropriate for your children’s reading level available for them.
- Use routine household events to teach about numbers and colors - shopping for food, using a recipe, sorting laundry, etc.
- Given children small rewards for behavioral or academic success at school.
- Praise your children when they get good grades or do their homework completely and without complaint.
- Take your children to the special programs for youngsters at your local public library.
- Make sure your child has all necessary childhood immunizations.
- Join a parent-teacher organization (PTA or other parent group) and attend meetings.
- Talk to the teachers to find out what your children will be learning each year.
- Ask the teachers for suggestions about how you can help your children at home.
- Make arrangements to visit your children’s classrooms at least once during school hours, just to observe.
- Talk to the teacher later about anything you didn’t understand or were concerned about.
- Ask about after-school programs or extra-help sessions if you think your children could benefit from these.
For Middle Level and High School Students
- Continue to encourage your children to read.
- Don’t let television, video games, or friends absorb all of their free time.
- Talk to your children about their specific interests related to school - subjects or teachers they like, clubs or extracurricular activities, books they are reading, projects they are working on, etc.
- Discuss their choice of courses with them so they are well prepared for different options after high school.
- Begin discussing with them what they might like to do after they graduate from high school.
- Know your children’s friends, where they live, and, if possible, their parents.
- If your children work part-time, make sure this doesn’t interfere with schoolwork or getting a good night’s sleep during the week.
- Continue to celebrate school success with appropriate rewards.
- Even though they may seem embarrassed, your children will appreciate your enthusiasm for their good work.
- Get a copy of your children’s schedules each semester.
- Find out what guidance is available to your children in choosing a college and applying for - and finding - scholarships and loans.
- Volunteer for school activities - chaperone a school dance or field trip, help with sports events, etc.
- Serve on school committees that involve parents.
- For more ideas and resources for parents, visit the National PTA website at www.pta.org.