Five Ways Parents Can Make a Difference This Year

Last week, I came across a blog post called Why Your Teacher Is Asking for 45 Glue Sticks, and I loved it. You see, last year, I think I bought about 300 pencils for my students to use, and I do not believe I had many left. Where did they go?  I'm not quite sure really.  I just know that we had to have them, and that's just one item. We also used tons of post it notes, highlighters (in all colors to color code information), dry erase pens, and so much more. Well this post got me thinking about how parents support their kids, and about other ways they can help us make this a phenomenal year. It will be, right?  So, here are just a few thoughts I have on parental involvement. I hope you find these tips helpful as nothing is more important than helping your child be successful from the beginning and throughout his/her educational journey.

Make Expected and Unexpected Appearances at School

Enjoy lunch with your child at school, and get in on the conversation too. This is a big motivator for children in school.
Children want and need to know that school is a high priority to you, and when they feel this, the level of concern for their work, their effort in class, and their behavior is raised. They want YOU to catch them doing well. If they know you are coming, of course they are at their best, but we need that all the time. Plus, this gives you an opportunity to see how your child is learning and what is expected for his/her grade level. Drop in lunch dates are always lots of fun and only take 20-25 minutes of time. In fact, if you have an interest in tutoring, you might even check about running a lunch bunch book club.  

Ask Your Child's Teacher if he/she Needs Your Help

Want to help at school? Consider tutoring a needy child.
A teacher's job is challenging and exhausting. Most days, teachers barely get a bathroom break or lunch, and there are always materials to cut out, work to display, or most importantly, children who need tutoring. If you have the time, there is always room for you to help in some way. This too shows your child that his/her education is valuable, and just think how helping a young child read will make you feel.

Take a Moment to Review Papers with Your Child

Backpacks can get disgusting! Check out why you must check the backpack regularly and so many other tips for making it a great year.Have you ever gone through a child's backpack and found bundles of papers in a wad from three months ago?  Most likely those papers came out of your child's desk after a classroom desk cleaning. Sadly, the review time was lost because the work is so old. If you make a routine of going over checked work together, then you will get an opportunity to reinforce great effort and achievement and correct errors. Plus, there are often very important messages sent home that you may miss!  If you do not see papers, be sure to ask your child's teacher.  There may be an issue to resolve.

When your child is working on homework, guide him/her, but do not correct every error he/she makes.  

This post shares ways parents can make a difference for their children. Check out this suggestion and all the rest.
It is pretty easy to see when a parent watches over homework and when the child is working independently without the parent around. Believe it or not, some parents believe that doing the child's homework for them is helpful. Sadly, it means the child misses out on the necessary practice. When your child has homework, supervise, but with some distance to allow your child to figure it out on his/her own when possible. If the child truly needs you to model it for him/her, then give some direction, but again, do not do it for him/her.  Kids do need supervision with homework though because some children need help to stay on task.  Without supervision, some will sit forever and not start. That just frustrates everyone.  If you find your child is completely lost with the work, then let the teacher know so that he/she can correct the errors and help. Keeping a regular homework routine
helps your child build stamina and helps him/her work out the kinks with skills he/she is learning.

Make Reading a Routine for the Whole Family

Becoming a lifelong reader begins in the home. Make reading something children see in every room of the house.
Want the most growth possible for your child this year?  Of course you do!  If that's the case, let him/her see you reading, writing, and doing math, and set aside time where all electronics are turned off and everyone reads. Can't do that? Then, make sure books are carried along wherever you go so you are prepared for reading at any time such as when you're at the doctor's office, while you wait in the drive thru line, or when you're traveling around town on errands. Every minute counts, and if you challenge each other on the number of books you can read this year, you will see that your expectations will be far exceeded.  By next summer, that routine will be in place, and Summer Slide will NOT be an issue for your child.

Have a wonderful back to school, and I hope that your child blossoms this year.  (and I hope the same for my own too. :-)  For more thoughts on Parental Involvement, check out this freebie I put together last year. Teachers might print and keep it handy, but parents might see ways to get involved too.  I like to post it outside of my classroom by the door. Parents see it each time they visit.

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This post includes five ways parents can make a difference for their children in the classroom.


  1. Super tips! I teach at a school where many parents overstep their boundaries regarding homework...if you see an increase in page views shortly it will be because I sent them to read this!

    1. Please do. It sure isn't meant to be anything but helpful. I think moms and dads have a hard time knowing how much assistance is the right amount (including me sometimes). It's also hard to gauge how much is the right amount to send sometimes as some kids are quick with it and some not at all. I think the main thing is to form a partnership of mutual respect and then keeping communications lines open for all. Have a great year!!

  2. Love this! My daughter starts K in a few weeks. I hope her teacher shares these views. I can't wait to help and have lunch dates!

    1. Oh Kristy. Lunch dates are so special because you get to know all the kids that she's spending time with and the child feels so special. You'll have to go in and read to her class some too. There are so many ways parents can feel a part of their child's education, and I hope your teacher welcomes all the moms and dads in. (although for kinders, it may be good to give a few weeks for her to adjust to being away from home).


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