Say the editors of PSEA’s You’re Part of the Equation, Too, “Absenteeism affects more than just the child. The teacher must struggle to fit extra time into a full schedule to help the student catch up. And the parent may not notice the loss of learning until it’s too late to do much about it. And since learning is a continuing, connected process, if a student misses Tuesday’s lesson, Wednesday’s less may not make much sense . . .”
You get the idea, so make school your top priority and get involved in school life any way you can. If work keeps you from volunteering during the day, chaperone an evening event, such as a dance. Plus, many schools alternate between day and evening meetings of their parent-teacher associations, so join in. As for field trips, sign up—even if it means having to take a day off from work. Meanwhile, try to never miss a Parent Night and always make it to parent-teacher conferences/meetings.
1. Set a reasonable bedtime for your child and stick to it. Teens need about 9-1/2 hours of sleep every night to perform well. Anything less and you run the risk that he/she won’t want to get up and go to school, and, once there, won’t be very alert.
2. Besides a good night’s sleep, a healthy diet helps ward off infections and maintain energy levels. Make breakfast happen every morning.
3. Schedule all dentist, orthodontist, and routine doctor appointments for after-school hours.
4. Don’t buy the line that your child is too tired to go to school—even if it’s because of that big science test he/she isn’t ready for. Going to school every day is his/her job and is as important as your own.
5. Serve as a role model, going to work even when exhausted, behind on your to-do list, or coming down with the sniffles.
6. If your child is truly too sick to go to school, make sure he/she calls a classmate(s) to gather all textbooks, worksheets and assignments. If the child is a neighbor, these can probably be dropped off at your home; otherwise ask that they be left on the main office counter for you to pick up. Most schools will do the gathering for you, but only after three days of school have been missed.
7. Once feeling a bit better, get him/her started on all that collected school work.
Have no doubt: the kids with the best attendance make the best grades. Help make sure that your child is one of them.