When you want to ensure the best academic outcomes for your child, the number one thing you can do as a parent is to be actively involved in their education. While many people think attending the top schools or paying for expensive tutors will make the biggest difference, studies actually show that the best indicator for student success is parent involvement.
Being actively engaged in the learning process with your child leads to:
- Higher levels of motivation and achievement
- Positive attitude and behaviors in school
- Better attendance
- Stronger relationship with teachers
- Fewer disruptive or violent behaviors in school
In fact, the more actively involved you are in your child’s education, the more likely they are to succeed. And that success is proven to last from preschool up through senior year.
So how can you stay actively involved in your child’s educational journey?
Here are several tips to increase your parental involvement:
- Work on foundational skills with young kids like abc’s, colors, shapes, and numbers
- Read together on a daily basis
- Enroll children in preschool
- Volunteer in the classroom
- Ask them about their day
- Have discussions about the importance of education at home
- Communicate with teachers on a regular basis
- Attend parent teacher conferences
- Work on homework together
- Go to school events as a family
- Supplement their learning with trips to the museum, zoos, art galleries, and botanical gardens
Staying engaged doesn’t have to be difficult to be effective. But the more time and effort you put in does directly correlate to how much value your child places on their own education. And the same higher results in overall grades and test scores are seen when this occurs.
While studies have shown that roughly 92% of parents report being actively involved in their child’s education, the teachers of those same children reported that parent engagement was closer to 64% of the families in their district.
So where’s the disconnect in perceived parental involvement and actual parental involvement?
Well, it could stem from a difference in frequency expectations. While teachers expect regular instances of parental involvement to increase student success, parents oftentimes think fewer engagements per year is sufficient enough.
And of course, parental involvement is not universal across different groups of people.
In fact, parents are far more likely to stay actively involved in their child’s education when:
- The are highly educated themselves
- They are at or above the federal poverty level
- They speak English fluently
- They are non-Hispanic white
- They have children in elementary or middle school
So the problem then lies in the fact that the students who typically struggle in school the most—those from less educated, lower-income, and minority households— are the same students whose parents are far less likely to be involved in their education.
And there are various reasons for this discrepancy such as lack of time or energy, embarrassment or shyness about their own lack of education or linguistic abilities, lack of communication channels, and perceived lack of welcome.
So gentle encouragement for these individuals will go a long way.