Punctuality and attendance is the theme for this “Education Month” and we cannot ignore the massive influence that parents have in this, and all aspects of the child’s education.
Parents or care givers are usually the first teachers and primary role models in a child’s life. That means that whatever parents think and feel is valuable and important in life.
So, if you want your child to value education you must show them how important you believe it to be.
This also shows your child that you want him/her to be happy and successful.
A good place to start is by showing your child how important it is to attend school every day. You may say to yourself “it’s only one day off” but they all add up, and once your child starts missing classes he will start to fall behind.
This can make a child feel embarrassed and want to stay at home more and more, as it is much easier to stay at home than to come to school and not understand what is being taught.
They should only miss school if they are really, truly sick. Most parents can tell if their child is really sick, or if he is just trying to get some time off school. If the latter is true, then you will need to talk to your child to find out why he doesn’t don’t want to go to school.
There are many reasons why your child may not want to go to school, it may be because he is having problems understanding the work, and this makes him feel stupid and embarrassed.
It could be that he is being bullied by other children, or feel that he is being victimised by his teacher.
All of these things affect the child’s self esteem, so if you want him to open up and tell you the truth you must be sensitive to his feelings. If you are angry with your child then this will make him feel more upset and he won’t be able to tell you what is going on.
If there is a problem at school it is a good idea to go and talk with his class teacher. Be careful not to direct blame, anger or frustration towards the teacher, this will not solve the problem. You just need to find out what is going on, and look at ways of solving the problem together.
If your child does not understand the work he may need some extra help from the teacher.
If bullying is the problem the teacher may need to speak to the children involved.
Whatever the problem, it is important that teacher and parents work together to sort things out.
The more regularly you can go and talk with the class teacher the better, even when there is no problem. It will help you to develop a good relationship with the teacher, and this can only be a good thing for your child’s learning.
Punctuality is equally as important as attendance for your child’s education. A child who is late on a regular basis will miss a lot of learning time and can easily fall behind.
As a parent there are many things you can do to show your child how important it is to get to school on time, and to help him/her to do so.
Show him how important it is to you that he is on time at school, and this will soon become important to him too.
Children need to have some routine in their lives, this helps them to feel safe and to develop good habits.
Encourage your child to prepare his school bag the night before school, perhaps after he has finished his homework. You can lead by example and make your own preparations for the next day at the same time.
It can help to give them a set time for these activities, like giving them time to play after school then “homework time”.
You can ask them to write this out like a time-table. This will help them to be more aware of time and how to organise themselves, an important skill which will help them in their future lives.
In the morning make sure that your child is awake early enough to prepare himself for school. This includes having a good healthy breakfast, this will help to give him the vital energy he needs to learn.
If your child has chores to do in the morning, make sure he has enough time to complete them, and that they do not leave the child tired and unable to concentrate at school.
All schools keep a register of each child’s attendance. Some schools in Region Six have started to keep a record of their punctuality too by using a lateness book.
This means parents can find out and monitor their child’s attendance and punctuality by communicating with the school.
We all like to work towards and achieve goals, so set your child an achievable goal. For example he must not miss more than three days, or get more than two late marks for the term.
If he manages to achieve this, reward him with praise and maybe a treat like cooking his favourite food and going for a nice day out to celebrate.
Parents can make a huge difference by simply paying some attention to their child’s education.
Every child wants his parents to be proud of him. So if you stress the importance of attendance and punctuality, you will soon start to see improvements, as your child will want to impress you by being at school and on time, everyday.