Many parents think that the job of ensuring their children get the best education possible and go the furthest possible is entirely up to the schools, but this really isn’t the case. Parents are the most influential force in the educational future of their children.
As parents think and dream about where their kids will go with their education, many envision their child being the first in the family to graduate college. Despite the large numbers of people who now graduate from high school and go on to college success, there are still even more families who still haven’t attained the college graduate dream.
With all things related to schooling, parents need to remember that they are the first and best teacher and advocate for their child. The chance of a child graduating from high school and attending college is more closely related to how the family views a college education than the schools the child attends or the teachers he or she has. With this in mind, here are some ideas for parents to help their children achieve the highest and most complete education possible:
Parents have to prioritize education.
This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s actually harder to make happen than most people think. It is not enough to tell a child they need to go to college, or that parents think education is important. Parents have to show their children that the family values education through things like,
- Reading. Parents need to read where children can see it. Kids emulate what parents do, not what they say.
- Continue your own education. This doesn’t mean you have to go back to school, but show kids that you keep learning and growing either through your job or hobbies. Learn. And keep learning.
- Really put school first. Doing chores should come after doing school work and studying. Yes, children need to have the responsibility to do chores and contribute to the family, but school has to be their job first.
Be involved in your child’s life.
Children sense whether their parents really are interested through the subtle signs we give them of our involvement in their lives. And keep in mind that studies continue to confirm that kids with involved parents are more successful in all aspects of their lives. We all like to be valued and it pays off with kids and their education. To be involved, try these ideas:
- Pay attention when they talk. Research indicates that kids whose parents actually listen to them and have conversations with their parents do better overall. Listening will also clue you in when there is a problem.
- Be active in their education. Volunteer at the school, join the PTA or your school’s version of the PTA, or help with activities. This is another way to show you value education and the child. It also gives you the chance to see what they are doing at school and how they are interacting with peers and other adults.
These simple things can make a world of difference to your child’s educational future. Every child can make it through college with the right family attitude and belief. If you believe in them, they will live up to your expectations.