3 Key Ways Parents Can Help Children Achieve Their Full Academic Potential

71% of American Parents say that their children experienced challenges during the 2022 school year, according to one survey conducted on behalf of the On Our Sleeves Movement for Children’s Mental Health. The top issue identified by parents was safety concerns at 37%, but academic challenges came in at a close second at 26% — followed by bullying (24%), pandemic-related social challenges (24%), and mental health challenges (22%). For parents who wish to successfully guide their children to academic success, there are a variety of methods that can help them achieve their full potential.

Exploring the value of a routine

Developing a solid routine at home is a great way to facilitate your child’s academic success in multiple ways. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), children who exercise regularly and eat healthily are likely to perform better academically in addition to better coping with stress and regulating their emotions (to highlight a few benefits). Sleep is another major element of an at-home routine that is conducive to academic success. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points out that children and adolescents who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have attention and behavior problems, which can contribute to poor academic performance in school.

Specific times of the year can showcase just how beneficial a routine can be — such as going back to school following the summer or even after an extended break. “There’s a definite benefit to routine,” says Melissa Racioppa, PhD, CCLS, the chair and assistant professor of psychology in the Child Life School of Health Professions and Education at Utica University. “It brings a level of comfort, it’s a predictable structure that the children understand and know how to follow, it gives a sense of mastery and accomplishment because they think ‘oh, ok, I know what I have to do next, and when everything’s done I know what I have to do to be successful.’” Racioppa goes on to highlight the fact that a routine “creates a climate that allows for other levels of development to happen.” For example, with a solid routine in place, your child can better focus on their studies — rather than worry about trivial aspects of their day like what time dinner will be.

Hiring a private tutor

Helping your children with their homework and other school projects can be a great way to support them throughout their academic endeavors, though it isn’t always feasible. Whether your work schedule doesn’t align with homework time or you’re simply not up to par on algebra, a private tutor can make a major difference, especially when helping your child reach academic goals and work through specific problems. A private tutor can be particularly beneficial when considering the current educational landscape — 44% of public school students began the 2023-24 year behind grade level in at least one academic subject, according to school principals.

While finding a private tutor for your child can seem like a simple task, several key aspects to the process must be considered. Assessing the skills and suitability of an individual is particularly important when hiring an in-person tutor. For example, a thorough background check is imperative in determining that a teacher does not have a shady past. 

Additionally, meeting with potential tutors a few times before hiring is a great way to get to know them while simultaneously determining whether or not they are a good match with your child. For instance, such meetings are a great way to discover whether there is a good enough rapport to serve as the foundation of a good working relationship, and can also serve as an opportunity to discuss academic problem areas and goals. This will also provide the tutor with an opportunity to share how he or she aims to help your children meet their goals in a timely manner.

Fostering a positive relationship with school

When aiming to support your child throughout school,  establishing a positive relationship regarding academics can go a long way in helping your child achieve full academic potential. One great way to do this is to get involved — attending parent-teacher conferences, helping out with homework, and even facilitating regular conversations about time at school are all great ways to do this. One scholastic article suggests several questions worth asking about your child’s day at school, from inquiries about the hardest and best parts of the day to simply asking what your child is reading in class. “Do you think math [or any subject] is too easy or too hard?” is another great question worth asking, and will provide insight as to how your child is doing in class. KidsHealth suggests that the way you talk and listen to your children can influence how well they listen and respond. “Listen carefully, make eye contact, and avoid multitasking while you talk. Be sure to ask questions that go beyond “yes” or “no” answers.”

Supporting your children throughout school is a great way to help them fulfill their academic potential, and can be done in several ways. Establishing a healthy and solid routine, considering a private tutor, and simply talking to your child about time in class can all make a major difference.

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