Attendance and punctuality play a huge role in increasing children’s academic success. It’s obvious that when students are not in class they miss out on information. And with the longer school day, one absence can cause a student to miss out on a wealth of knowledge. Studies show poor attendance is a red flag for student drop-out. When students miss school for no good reason, they usually lack the motivation to not only come to school, but to complete the work they missed from being absent. Too many absences can lead to a great deal of missing assignments and failed classes, which could eventually lead to students dropping out.

Therefore, parents must teach their children the importance of being present in school. Having children practice presence and punctuality at school is great preparation for their future careers, where showing up at work on time will not only make them dependable, but will also grant them a paycheck. Read below to find out how to teach and encourage your children to have good attendance.

Prioritize your child’s attendance

As a teacher, I have heard many excuses for absences. One of the most difficult to hear is when children miss school because of parents’ lack of planning. For example, some parents make their responsibilities their children’s by having their kids stay at home to babysit a younger sibling or care for a sick elder. When parents do this, they hinder their children’s educational success. This is especially true if a child is already academically behind. Keeping him or her at home to watch a younger sibling makes school even more difficult, causing the child to complete multiple days of assignments upon their return instead of just completing a day’s worth of work. To help their children instead of hindering them, parents must do the sometimes rigorous work of finding alternate forms of child and elder care, to better ensure their children’s academic progress.

Model presence and punctuality

If you generally show up for appointments 10 minutes late or neglect to show up at all, do not expect your children to be Mr. and Ms. Punctuality. Remember that your best teaching is done by example, so walking into a show after the first scene or leaving for work five minutes before your shift begins tells your child that being punctual is not important, even when you know that being on time is a key factor in mastering an interview and impressing a potential investor. If you know that you are habitually tardy, think about how your poor attendance could be affecting your children’s career readiness, and make a commitment to teach them well, by example.

Teach strategies that lead to punctuality

There are problems that lead to legitimate tardies—a late bus, misplaced shoes, a crowded bathroom. Nevertheless, such troubles can be mitigated with appropriate strategies, strategies that must be explicitly taught to your children if you would like for them to be present and punctual. For example, preparing clothes the night before can save time when a bathroom is shared.

Waking up a half hour early allows for extra time to either sit and watch a television program or find a lost shoe before walking out the door.

Children do not come equipped with these strategies. Therefore, parents must plainly teach them such things, so they have the appropriate tools to use in order to increase their chances for perfect attendance.

Allow natural consequences for absences and tardiness

Finally, take a no-excuses approach with your children when it comes to non-emergency absences and tardies. Give your children natural consequences that show them the effects of not arriving when expected. For example, when they show up late for dinner, let them be the last to take from the serving bowl or make them eat the least desired piece of meat. If they are late to a game in which they play, make them watch from the sidelines instead of playing on the team.

When they forget to show up at a family event, do not fill them in on what happened and show pictures. Have them go and visit each individual member of the family on their own in order to set things right. Such consequences will prepare your children for the real world, where they really do miss out on learning, opportunity, and pay because they did not show up.

Teach your child that good attendance is not just something that happens. It takes planning, preparation, and persistence, but eventually it pays off. Ensure that your child will reap the rewards.

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