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5 Steps to a Successful Mid-year Academic Check

By now you’ve probably set those infamous New Year’s resolutions. However, with the mid-year upon us, there is another important life activity that is often overlooked: our children’s academic health.

According to Paul Rabara, an educational technologist based in Orange County and father of two, “Many parents act shocked when spring and end of year grades roll around, and their child is falling short in some critical developmental areas.”


What can parents do to prevent academic end of the school year panic? Here are five key mid-year steps to help improve the academic health of your child:

  1. Check in With Child & Teacher
    Actively check the class Web site for grade, project and homework updates. Call or drop an e-mail to your child’s teacher as well. Make sure you are clear with the intent of your message. This is also an ideal time to have a “casual” chat with your child about school. To open the conversation, try chatting about school during a board game, shoot hoops, or take your child out for a yogurt.
  2. Look for Red Flags
    Does your child seem excited about school? Bored? Frustrated? Look for behavioral clues, and ask questions without seeming like nosy Mrs. Kravitz.
  3. Social Isolation or Social Overstimulation
    Social behavior at school impacts academic performance. Does your child have friends at school? Is he or she a loner? Or, is her or she obsessed with one friend, or a group of friends? Do you help facilitate playdates and other peer-related activities* outside of school? *Beware of overscheduling, which can cause even more stress on children.
  4. Attendance
    Experts agree one of the highest correlations to school success is being on time and ready to learn. Make sure you keep an eye on repeatedly missed classes or excessive tardiness.
  5. Bedtime & Breakfast (B&B)
    Numerous studies affirm the critical connection between sleep and grades. Most elementary-aged children require at least 10 hours of sleep. So, if your child is not on a healthy sleep track, now’s the time to start. In addition to adequate sleep, beginning the school day with a good, balanced breakfast is strongly linked with helping kids concentrate and do well in school. Improve B&B, and watch your child’s grade improve too.

One final note of advice from Rabara: “Remember, these developmental years are the building blocks for your child. It’s not too late to refocus and guide your child in this complicated, competitive world. Living simply is a motto I do my best to follow as a dad and educator.”

Kristal Zacharias is the mother of two beautiful, vivacious girls, and wife of a hunky husband who works in the action sports industry. For the past 15 years, Kristal has worked for several Fortune 500 companies as a professional communicator. Follow her journey at Clearly Kristal or on Facebook and Twitter.


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