University of Illinois Extension

Helping Kids Succeed in School

Rachel Schwarzendruber, Family Life Educator

The grandkids are back in school, and you desperately want them to have a successful year. What can you do to help? Get involved! Children who have a family member involved in school tend to have higher grades and test scores, better attendance, and a better chance of completing homework. These students also tend to be more involved in extra-curricular activities and have a more positive attitude.

Here are some practical ideas to make this a successful school year:

  • Prepare your grandchildren for school. Make sure they go to school fed and well rested. Also make sure their homework is completed.
  • Set up a study area. If possible, designate an area in the home that is quiet and away from distractions. Keep the area supplied with frequently needed items like paper, pencils, tape, paper clips, ruler, calculator, and a dictionary.
  • Talk about homework. Help the children manage homework by breaking it into smaller segments. Check homework for completeness, but don't do the assignments for them.
  • Take time to read. Children are more likely to read if adults around them read. Take your grandkids to the library and bring home some books for them and yourself. Also read together aloud. Ask the children what the book was about and why the characters acted as they did.
  • Encourage sharing. Ask your grandchildren about school. Listen closely and respond with empathy when things aren't going well. This interaction fosters better students and stronger relationships.
  • Monitor TV time. Limit the amount of hours that the television is on. Choose shows together. Watch TV together and use it as an opportunity to share your family values.