Research has shown that youth in care are at a higher risk for poor educational outcomes. This means that if your child is of school age, it is critical to commit yourself to your child’s educational success. Incorporating daily strategies that encourage school success can seem like a challenge, but these four actions break it down for all parents.
Create a schedule
Creating an at-home schedule or afterschool routine for your child seems simple, but it can be the foundation block for school and time management. Setting aside a specific time each day to complete homework can be the start of developing lifelong positive habits.
Talk positively about school and learning
When asking them about their day, relay your message in a positive tone. Ask them questions like, “What was the best thing that happened to you today?” or, “What’s something you learned today that you’d like to know more about?” These open and honest conversations create a safe environment to talk about their feelings and feel good about their accomplishments.
Work with them on challenging school assignments
If your child struggles with homework, just being there for them and showing you care about their education can help them succeed. Even helping them complete parts if they need extra support is not wrong. Of course, do not do the homework for them, but guiding them in the right direction can give them the motivation they need.
Communicate with school staff
If your child is still having difficulty after trying some of these strategies, the next best step is to talk with the school staff. See if they have any tips or tricks that help your child in the classroom, and if they do, try incorporating them at home.
We hear a lot about “cultural competency,” but being well versed on multiple cultures different than our own is not always possible. As a parent, it is more important to be culturally receptive or have cultural humility — a respectful openness to your child’s cultural background and self-reflection on how your own background shapes your view of things. Being receptive to your child’s cultural identity can help them feel comfortable, understood, and appreciated. When you do not come from a similar cultural background as your child, it is essential to willingly engage them in activities, education, and events to bolster their cultural identity.
Here are some ways you can value diversity and support your child’s cultural needs:
Buehler, Cheryl & Rhodes, Kathryn & Orme, John & Cuddeback, Gary. (2006). “The potential for successful family foster care: Conceptualizing competency domains for foster parents.” Child Welfare, 85, 523-58.
1, 2, 3, & 4. (2006). The Potential for Successful Family Foster Care: Conceptualizing Competency Domains for Foster Parents. Child Welfare, 85(3), 523–558. https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/preparing_youth.pdf
Coakley, T.M., Cuddeback, G., Buehler, C., & Cox, M.E. (2006). “Kinship foster parents’ perceptions of factors that promote or inhibit successful fostering.” Children and Youth Services Review, 29, 92-109.
Franck, K. (2001). “The characteristics of kinship and nonkinship care children and their families of origin.” Unpublished master’s thesis, University of Tennessee.
Jacobvitz, D. (2002). “Promoting resiliency in children and youth living in low-income families.” Paper presented at the annual conference of the National Council on Family Relations, Houston, TX.