As a parent, you want your child to reach their potential. You want them to have a future where they can use their unique gifts and capabilities. Your vision and high expectations for your child’s future are powerful – and research shows that high expectations do have an impact on your child’s school success. This type of family engagement helps your child to believe in the power of education.
From the time your child begins school until he or she graduates from high school, your expectations and your belief in the importance of education can motivate your child to fulfill his or her own dreams. Parents who expect their children to finish high school, attend college or a vocational program, or pursue a career, communicate that belief in many ways.
Communicate Hopes and Expectations
It’s important to discuss early and regularly with your child, your hopes and dreams for their education. Even kindergarten isn’t too early to start! These conversations let your child know that education is important to your family.
You give them a goal to aim for when you:
- Ask about and listen to your child’s thoughts on the future
- Share your hopes for your child’s education after high school, such as graduating from college
State your belief in your child’s ability to achieve career or vocational training. Your hopes and expectations are the foundation for fulfilling goals and influence your child’s school performance.
Expect your child to:
- Give school their best effort and attendance
- Follow through on their tasks, such as completing homework, turning it in on time, and studying for tests
- Pursue education beyond high school and be a lifelong learner.
Connect school to life: Knowing what your child is studying in school helps focus what you talk about for future goals. You help build the bridge of “from here to there” when you:
- Connect school subjects to current events, personal interests, or career goals
- Connect school subjects to your child’s activities, hobbies, and community
- Share your own personal successes and challenges with school.
Build study skills and strategies: In middle school, children begin to take ownership of their future goals through skills they are taught at home. You can help by reinforcing the skills they need to make academic progress in school and beyond. You can do this when you:
- Make homework and studying a priority at home
- Help your child learn to break down long or difficult assignments into easier, more manageable pieces
- Keep reading time high and screen time low outside of school (screen time includes video games, computer games, social media, TV, and cell phone games)
- Help your child learn how to manage time for studies, outside activities, and household responsibilities
- Tell your child you believe they are capable of doing the school work and then praise any progress
- Help your child learn how to find help in school, such as staying after school to work with a teacher.