Photo by Corbis
From the very beginning of children’s school years, parents are called to help them succeed. Read to them, check homework, foster their curiosity, we’re told. And for good reason.
Turns out, moms and dads who strive to help their kids do well academically have more influence than schools in getting it done, according to a 2012 study published in the journal Research in Social Stratification and Mobility. “Our study shows that parents need to be aware of how important they are, and invest time in their children — checking homework, attending school events and letting kids know school is important,” one of the paper authors, Dr. Toby Parcel, a professor of sociology at North Carolina State University, told Science Daily. “That’s where the payoff is.”
Want your parenting to make the grade? Study up on these tips from mothers and fathers who revealed to Yahoo Parenting how they helped their kids graduate Number One. Becoming a top-class influence is actually easier than you’d think!
1. Help them picture the future.
“Smart is cool is my motto. This isn’t the message they hear, especially from their peers. It starts in grade school by setting the bar high for them. Excellence is achievable and worth the effort. ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ and ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’ are my favorite questions. The answers have changed, but I always wanted her to keep an eye on the future and challenged, ‘How will you get yourself there?’ Then I worked with her on a path to her dream.” — Mary Jo Burke
2. Get involved.
“Starting in sixth grade, I reviewed most of my daughter’s work nearly every night. It seemed to help a lot. Seeing the straight A’s she was capable of getting propelled her to keep going.” — John Petry
3. Keep the focus on education.
“I never parented my children with the aim to make them valedictorians but I do think reading to them every night, playing math games when traveling in the car and limiting the amount, and type, of TV shows helped. I also took the children to museums during vacations. Education was always a focus for our family. I volunteered at the school and we attended all the parent meetings. I never did my children’s homework with them but the expectation was that it was done first as a priority.” — Linda Henderson
Valedictorian Charlotte Henderson with mom, Linda, and grandmother
4. Be a cheerleader.
"I wish I could tell you that I had creative ways to help my daughter become valedictorian but, in truth, I believe she did it all herself. Of course, her father and I encouraged her in everything she chose to do from playing trumpet to joining the softball team. The fact that we supported her by going to her activities (her father was even her coach one season) showed her that we were proud of all her accomplishments. We let her know that we were convinced she could achieve whatever she put her mind to." — Janet Wolk