Helping kids do their best in school |

Helping kids do their best in school

Suzie Romig
RFSD Public Information Officer

Editor’s Note: The following is the first part of a two-part series about how to foster the educational process in local schools. Today will include a list of reminders for how parents and friends can assist students. In two weeks, the column will focus on how to support schools and teachers who educate local youth.

The Roaring Fork School District believes that education is a partnership of students, families, schools and communities, and at no time is that concept more important than when helping kids do their best in school.

Starting with the basics, parents know enough sleep, regular exercise and good nutrition are important for students of all ages. Set a regular bedtime that is early enough so students awake easily. If not eaten at home, breakfast is offered at each elementary and middle school a half hour before school starts.

Educators say the No. 1 way to help young students is by reading to or with a child for at least 20 minutes every day. Even if the student reads in English and their parents read in another language, parents should still listen to daily readings.

Adults can show kids the value of reading by keeping good books, magazines and newspapers in the house and letting children see them reading. Go to the library together. Talk about characters and stories in books.

Younger students need help developing organizational skills. Students need one place set aside to keep their backpack, books and homework. Parents should check youngsters’ backpacks each night to review assignments and information from teachers. For older students, parents can help with assignment scheduling by monitoring their child’s planner.

Studies show that successful students have parents who create and maintain family routines. Establish a regular time for homework each afternoon or evening. Set aside a quiet and well-lit place, encourage children to study and model good study habits for children. Parents should look at their own and their children’s weekly schedule to make sure the family is not being over-scheduled.

Unnecessary absences can impact learning. Not only can students miss valuable lessons, but parents may send the message that education is not a high priority. Parents should set doctor visits and other appointments after school and schedule family trips when school is not in session.

Set limits on the total hours children spend watching television and playing computer and video games. Studies show academic achievement drops sharply for children who watch more than 10 hours of television a week or more than two hours a day. Parents and children should decide together on a specific educational or children’s programs, rather than turning on the television to watch anything available.

Establish and maintain good communication with children so that talking about problems and school issues is comfortable. Set a daily routine of checking in with kids, and practice active listening by asking open-ended questions.

Finally, get organized at night for the school day tomorrow, and pack kids’ backpacks before bedtime.

Here are a few Web sites, recommended by the Roaring Fork Family Resource Centers, with more information:,,,,

For RFSD questions, call 384-6000 or e-mail

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