Using Your Family Environment to Help Your Child Succeed in School

Much of a child’s success and achievement in school is directly tied to the kinds of experiences which occur in the family. Parents who jointly create a family learning environment which fosters the development of skills and attitudes necessary to achieve in school, do much to ensure their children’s success. 

Family Communication

If a child learns in a family where there is a considerable amount of communication, he or she will develop a longer attention span. A behavioral scientist by the name of Basil Bernstein found that children who have high levels of academic achievement tend to come from homes with what is called a higher flow of information.

When family members are encouraged to discuss freely, a family environment then resembles that of the school. In a classroom, children encounter a great deal of information. When the home environment has been similar, children learn to make a more successful adjustment from home to school.

Your Style of Productivity

Listed below are some questions you can ask about your family’s style.

  • Are each person’s responsibilities clearly defined?
  • Do you have a rule such as “work before play?”
  • Is being on time important to your family?
  • Does your family put a lot of energy into what you do, organizing and working together?
  • Do you have a characteristic in your family of being fairly neat and orderly?
  • Are people encouraged to be independent workers, with each person assigned responsibilities or tasks and expected to independently achieve them?

If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, there is a strong possibility that your family’s style of productivity is contributing to your child’s ability to produce in academic settings. All families develop a particular style of accomplishing tasks. Children, for example, note whether family members, parents especially, tend to assign jobs. They notice whether the various tasks get done. These observations are a part of the child’s understanding as to what entails achievement and accomplishment.

Another part of productivity is pride in achieving. Self-esteem for every person is partly determined by the feelings of achievement. Parents are key individuals in instilling these feelings within their children. You can praise what your children do. Satisfaction and self-approval received at home can generalize into achievement at school.

One last note about productivity that is important to mention is that relatively few people appreciate that procrastination is a learned behavior. Often unwittingly, parents teach it to their children. Dirty dishes may remain for hours in the sink. The garbage may be taken out only after four or five reminders. On the other hand, productivity and task completion is learned on the same basis. Children observe within the home what things get started and whether they are finished. When a child observes parents finishing what they start, the parents are setting a positive example for achievement later on in the child’s classroom work.