Parent Engagement


Make breakfast handy to improve learning

Research has shown that one reason some students behave poorly in school is hunger. That's why eating a healthy breakfast is so important to your teen's learning. If disorganization is slowing your student down in the morning, figure out some nutritious "take-along" foods, such as a hard-boiled egg or a banana, that provide an energy boost and can be grabbed on the way out the door.


Reinforce school rules at home

Teachers can't teach if they are busy disciplining students. To support your teen's teachers, talk with your teen about school rules, and reinforce them at home. Teach him to show respect for others' property. Expect him to use acceptable language and listen when others are talking. Make it clear that he should follow directions and avoid distracting the teacher or the other students.


Teach your teen to celebrate safely

The end of the school year brings many causes for celebration. But when teens celebrate, there is always the chance some will try to "add" to the fun with alcohol or drugs. Be sure to ask where your teen is going, what she will be doing, with whom, and when you can expect her home. Tell her she can call you at any time for a ride rather than get into a car with someone who has been drinking or using drugs. If she does call, don't lecture. Instead, thank her for being responsible.


Balance screen time with healthy alternatives

Televisions and electronic devices can entertain and inform teens. But too much recreational screen time takes away from important activities like schoolwork, exercise and interacting with family and friends. It also makes students more likely to see inappropriate material, earn lower grades, read fewer books, gain weight and develop anxieties. Brainstorm with your teen about entertaining alternatives to screen time.


The 'Three-Minute Rule' gives teens time to think

Teens are naturally impulsive. They often act first and think later. To guide your teen toward using good judgment, teach him the "Three-Minute Rule." Encourage him to spend three minutes thinking before making a decision. During that time, he should ask himself some questions: "Is this the right thing to do?" "What will happen if I do it?" "Do I have any other choices?"


Graphic novels are appealing reading

If your teen is a reluctant reader, try introducing her to graphic novels. These book-length stories use pictures and words like comic books, but they offer more than just entertainment. They cover many types of literature, including mystery, fantasy, science, historical fiction, biography and self-help. Check to make sure the content is appropriate before your teen reads one. Ask your librarian to suggest titles.


Make the rules clear before leaving your teen home alone

Your teen is old enough to babysit, and maybe even drive. But he still needs guidelines if he'll be home alone this summer. Make sure your teen understands who is allowed in the house, what he should do before going out, who will be his emergency contact, what he should tell callers who ask for you, and what responsibilities he has around the house while you are gone.