Children only spend half their waking hours in school during the academic year.This means that much of the rearing is still done at home.
In fact, research from North Carolina State University, Brigham Young University, and the University of California, Irvine finds that parental involvement is a more significant factor in a child's academic success than the qualities of the school itself.
To find out just what parents can do at home to help their kids excel, we asked teachers everywhere to weigh in. More than 40 teachers shared some great suggestions, and we included some of our favorites here:
"Read to them, read with them, and have them read to you."
Katie Westfield, a ninth- and 10th-grade history teacher in Boston
Have dinner together
"I think family meals are a time to catch up on each other's lives. When kids and parents can converse about what happened during the day, the good and the bad, I think parents are able to get the best insight into their children's lives. Constant communication is one of the many keys to success throughout life."
Be a good role model
"If you want them to read, be a reader first. If you want them to improve their writing skills, begin writing letters to your children. You want them to do well in math? Stop telling them you hate Math!" A fifth-grade teacher
Let kids experience life
"It's not all about the books," Anonymous.
Have high expectations for your kids
"I know a lot of parents work hard, and I can't ask them to spend more time with their kids because sometimes they can't. I know some of them can't sit down and help them with homework because either they don't have the time or they don't get it either," Jennifer, a fifth-grade teacher in North Brunswick, New Jersey.
Force them to put the screens down
"I wish more parents read to their kids and encouraged them to read. I also think parents should encourage their children to go on walks, to stare at the clouds, and to play outside. Teenagers today spend almost 11+ hours in front of screens. It scares me. It's like they don't know how to be alone, and I worry about what it will do to independent thinking," an English teacher at a private school in New York City.
Don't let them be lazy
"Make sure they did their homework," a seventh-grade social studies teacher in New York City.
"Inevitably, the parents who come to conferences are the parents of the kids who are doing well. Some parents don't even realize their kid is failing. They don't respond to voicemails, they don't check their email, they don't come to conferences. Don't just ask your kid how he's doing in school, because he'll say he's fine and has no homework. Ask the teacher," Rebecca Rosen, a ninth-grade English teacher in New York City.
Work with teachers, not against them
"Make sure your child knows that you and the teacher are on the same page in terms of discipline, academic success, and social and emotional health. The child shouldn't think that the parents will save them from the teacher when they don't make wise choices."
"Spend time playing with them," a secondary school instructor who teaches English abroad.