Schools working in partnership with parents is nothing new. It was a major focus of the Early Years framework from around 2012, when it was identified as a key factor in improving children’s learning and development.
As children get older, parents often take a step back from engaging with schools. Home based learning during COVID lockdowns certainly alerted many parents to the difficulties in supporting their children’s education.
While schools often focus on parental involvement, it can be challenging for parents to identify how they can support their children effectively with their education. They may fear that their lack of knowledge hinders them or worry they don’t have the time to make a difference.
Let’s look at some ways parents can support their children at school to build a positive outcome.
Start a Conversation
When asked how their day has gone, children’s gruff responses can be off-putting. It can dissuade parents from having these conversations.
However, these chats are essential as they establish an interest in their school life and build an opportunity to spot worrying changes in their child’s mood or behaviours.
Persevering with school themed chats will give children time to express their feelings without judgement. It could also help pick up potential mental health problems early.
Build a Relationship with Teachers
One of the best pieces of advice a teacher will give is for parents to let them know when there are problems or concerns at home. Similarly, parents will want to know if a teacher is concerned about their child.
Both parents and teachers can only support a child if they understand what is happening in their life. Now, we don’t mean becoming THAT parent who wants to chat with the teacher every day, but it is crucial to let a teacher know about bigger issues such as when a child has suffered a bereavement, if there are family issues or when a parent is away from home.
Knowing a bit about the background can help a teacher understand unusual behaviour, adapt their expectations and provide appropriate support to a child whilst they are in the classroom.
Should parents help with homework?
Homework gives students a chance to work independently, but that doesn’t mean parents shouldn’t take an interest.
Asking questions about homework can give parents an idea about what their children are learning and help them see if their child is coping with the difficulty.
Parents can provide encouragement and some support and let a teacher know if a child cannot complete homework despite putting in the effort. Together they can come up with a plan to make assignments more successful.
How do parents support challenging behaviour?
Difficulties with behaviour are often a sign that a child is struggling and not coping. It will undoubtedly affect their learning.
Consistency is essential when supporting children and young people with behaviour. Good communication between teachers, parents and children can make a huge difference in how well a child is supported.
It can help identify possible causes of changes in behaviour and then put strategies in place that will improve things.
Essentially, parents should be encouraged to support schools and not ignore any difficulties, while schools should listen to parents and children to discover the underlying reasons for the challenges.