9 Ways to Improve Your Child’s School Attendance

As parents we want our children to graduate from high school and be prepared for the workforce or college. However, if your child is continuously absent from school, the odds of them graduating goes down significantly. Chronic absenteeism affects about 6.8 million (yearly) students nationwide, that’s around 14% of the United States K-12 student population. Age isn’t a major factor in absenteeism as it affects our younger students as well as our older ones.

Chronic absenteeism is one of the early signs that your child may be at risk of failing academically. Research studies show that missing 10% or more of school makes it harder for children to become literate by the end of their third-grade year. Not being able to read can make it harder for them to succeed in their classes, lead to suspensions and put them at risk of dropping out.

We need our children to attend school so they can receive the support and guidance that they need to thrive academically. However, there are a lot of issues including health challenges, poverty, community violence, and family issues that can make it hard for students to take advantage of the chance to learn at school. The good news is as a parent you’re in the driver seat. You make a considerable difference in whether your child gets to school every day. All it takes is a little effort on your part.

We know that you have a lot going on, but we also know that you realize that your child is a priority. For them to thrive in this increasingly competitive global economy, they have to be educated. To help you ensure that your child gets to school every day we’re going to give you 9 tips on how you can make this a reality.

  1. Help your child understand why going to school everyday matters. Discuss what they’re missing out on and how showing up to school every day is an important skill that will help them become successful in life. It will help them keep a job and learn what they need to know and be able to do to realize their hopes and dreams.
  2. Create attendance goals with your child and track their progress in a notebook or calendar. Also, you can try giving them small rewards for not missing school, such as a later bedtime on Saturday and Sunday.
  3. Make attendance a priority by giving your children regular bedtimes. For older children make sure they understand the connection between school success and chronic absenteeism. Schools can also engage students with rewards, contests, etc.
  4. Develop a backup plan for ensuring that your child gets to school.
  5. Recruit your child’s teacher as a partner. Teachers may have insights into why your child may be missing school or why they don’t want to attend school.
  6. Request the attendance data for your child’s school. Also, ask the principal if chronic absenteeism is a schoolwide problem. Usually, parents think they’re the only ones going through this problem, but there may be a lot of parents facing the same issue.
  7. Work with other people in your network to reduce common barriers to your child’s attendance, such as the absence of reliable transportation or long term health problems.
  8. Reach out to your child school for assistance and support. The principal, your child’s teacher, counselors, and nurses are all available to help you. All you have to do is ask.
  9. Find out whether your child’s school offers rewards and incentives for students that improve their attendance. Ensure that your school doesn’t just recognize perfect attendance, but also finds ways to encourage and recognize students that have significantly improved their attendance. If you have the time, volunteer to help with award and recognition ceremonies. For instance, you could be responsible for creating award certificates or even reaching out to local businesses to ask them to contribute rewards and incentives like food items and gift cards.

Can you think of any additional strategies that parents can use to increase their child’s school attendance?

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