10 Tips to Support School Success

Support Teen Social, Emotional and School Success

Heading back to school is busy, exciting, and at times, overwhelming. Whether your child is in middle or high school, now is a great time to brush up on some important lessons we’ve learned about supporting our teens to succeed.

Too many people think that parents’ involvement in school begins and ends with checking in on homework or asking about grades. Take a look at these helpful tips from Challenge Success, an organization that works with schools and families to promote a broad definition of success and implements strategies so that all kids are healthy and engaged with learning.

Too many people think that parents’ involvement in school begins and ends with checking in on homework or asking about grades.

The Top Ten Back-to-School Tips from Challenge Success

  1. Ask your child: “How was your day? Learn anything interesting? Get to spend time with friends?” instead of “How did you do on the math test?”
  2. Resist the urge to correct the errors in your child’s homework. It’s your child’s work, not yours.
  3. Work done with integrity is more important than an A. Pressure to achieve only high grades can make students resort to cheating.
  4. Make time for PDF: playtime, downtime, family time. Research shows PDF is critical for overall well-being.
  5. Create a technology-free environment during mealtimes. Every adult and child can benefit from a break from constant interruptions and distractions.
  6. Collaborate with your child’s teachers. Assume best intentions and work together to solve problems.
  7. Fight the temptation to bring your child’s forgotten homework to school. Kids gain resilience by learning from small failures.
  8. An extra hour of sleep is more valuable than an extra hour of studying. Research shows sleep deprivation can be associated with depression and anxiety.
  9. When your child wants to talk with you, stop what you are doing and engage. Does “I hate school!” really mean something else: “I am being bullied.” or “I don’t fit in.”
  10. Help your child develop his or her interests and strengths. Discover what your child really loves to do outside of school, not what you think a college admissions officer would like to see on an application.


Supporting Your Teen’s School Success

When parents are involved in schools and support learning, young people are more successful. Click through to review benefits of getting involved with your child’s education.


The Benefits of School-Parent Partnerships

When teachers and families partner together, teens develop important social and emotional skills and have better academic performance. Look for ways to partner with your teen’s school. This may include volunteering, meeting teachers and administrators, or supporting school events.


Provide Support at Home

You can be involved in your teen’s education from home. Talk regularly with your teen about school and learning. Make it clear you value their education.


Build a Strong Relationship with Your Teen’s Teacher

Meet the teachers in the beginning of the school year. Learn how they best communicate. Share important information that may affect your teen’s school work.


Help Your Teen Manage School Work

This doesn’t mean doing your child’s homework. It means empowering your teen to come up with a routine to effectively complete assignments. It also means helping develop time management and organizational skills. And encouraging healthy eating, sleep, and exercise habits to keep your teen focused and prepared for school.

Small Changes, Big Impact

Consider how you might incorporate some of these strategies into your daily routine to encourage school success. Remember that this advice depends on your child and the situation. You know your child best and should use your judgment to determine what’s appropriate. For example, you might decide to forgo bringing your child’s homework to school if it has been a pattern of behavior. On the other hand, if it is a first-time mistake that is out of character for your teen, you may consider lending a hand and showing your support in his or her time of need. Only you can determine when you need to step in versus when you need to let your tween or teen learn from mistakes.

Small changes can have a large impact on your family over time. Will you institute a tech-free dinner time? Can you shift the focus from grades and scores to your teen’s effort and growth? Will you ensure your teen gets enough sleep? Will you make time to relax together as a family? These strategies are shown to strengthen families and build happy and resilient young people.

About Elyse Salek

Elyse Salek, M.S.Ed. is an Administrative Director of Research at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Her degrees are in Psychology and Human Development from Middlebury College and the University of Pennsylvania School of Education. She is the proud mother of two children.

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