Many parents don't measure up when it comes to supporting their child's school performance. You hear people say, "I want A's from Jessie and Johnny." But they don't take the time or expend the effort to help their kids succeed.
Several years ago Psychology Today reported on a study of children who excelled in school, the arts and sports. Parents of outstanding performers made the activity a priority for the entire family.Answer the following questions to test your school-support quotient.
- Does your child have quiet time for homework and your attention to get through the rough spots? Or does this scenario - "I'll be right there to help; wait for the commercial" - sound more familiar than you'd like to admit? Enforce household quiet hours and let your child know school is a priority. Read, write letters or pay bills during homework time. Your child remembers what you do, not what you say.
- Does your child have the necessary furniture to do homework comfortably? Each child needs his or her own desk, chair, a decent light, file cabinet and bookshelf. Parents often complain that their children don't concentrate on homework and lose their work. When you talk to the children, you find they're expected to work at kitchen tables, with chairs too low for them and bad light. Lacking proper storage space, they often stuff papers and books into closets and under beds. Set up your child to win.
- Does each child have his own school supplies? Why should Johnny spend 10 minutes looking for what he needs because his brother or sister used it last?
- Has your child been taught simple time-management skills? During your parent-teacher conference, ask how the teacher covers time management. If it isn't covered, buy a calendar and do it. Children aren't born with a time- management gene, but time management is an important life skill. You also teach your child to organize time through your household rules. Do you drop everything when Johnny needs a ride? Require your child to let you know in advance so you can plan the family schedule.
If you want your children to succeed in school, there isn't any way around the time it takes to provide rides and help with schoolwork. But it doesn't have to break your bank to get the proper furniture and supplies. Scout used furniture stores and garage sales for what you need. If space is the problem, you may have to give up the aesthetics of a room to make sure your child has the space needed to work. If you make a well-decorated living room more important than a place to set up a desk, you've given your child a message about priorities.