(NAPSM)—Most parents know that school attendance is important—after all, we want our kids to have the best possible chance of doing well in school and achieving their dreams. But many parents also know that getting their kids to school every day isn't always easy. Kids get sick or they worry about facing bullies. Sometimes kids miss school because their families are struggling or because they feel unprepared.
Nearly half of parents (49 percent) believe that it is okay for their children to miss three or more days of school per month—and that they won't fall behind academically if they do. In reality, as early as elementary school, students who miss just two days of school per month are more likely to fall behind in school and less likely to graduate from high school. Students are chronically absent if they miss an average of just two school days per month, even if the absences are excused or understandable. When these absences add up, students who miss just two days of school each month end up missing 18 school days, or 10 percent of the school days in a year.
By following these five simple tips, you can help ensure your child attends school every day. Attending school every day puts your child on the path toward success in school and in life:
1. Keep track of how many days of school your child has missed.
2. Figure out why your child is absent from school. Is your child dealing with a chronic illness such as asthma? Is he being bullied or struggling at school? Is she staying home to help care for a family member?
3. Ask teachers and community leaders for advice and specific resources. Reach out to other parents, too, to ask for help and share tips.
4. Consider enrolling your child in a mentoring or an afterschool program. When kids work with mentors, they learn about the importance of attending school every day. With an additional support system in place, kids learn strategies to address their day-to-day challenges. Similarly, when kids get involved in afterschool programs, they are more likely to feel connected to their school communities and are less likely to be absent.
5. Visit AbsencesAddUp.org for information on the impact of absences and resources to help prevent them in the future. On the website, you'll learn how to help children who are struggling in school, being bullied, managing chronic illness or dealing with mental health challenges. Additionally, the site also provides parents with resources to assist with caregiving, housing and food challenges.
Families can visit AbsencesAddUp.org to find resources and tips that can help them through many challenges, whether their child isn't feeling well, their family is struggling with housing, or anything in between.
Education experts agree: Helping your children do well in school starts with making sure they get there.