09/09/2014 12:25 pm ET Updated Nov 09, 2014

Your Child's School Success? It's All in Your Head

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You want your child to do well in school. Of course you do. But where does this success start?

Is it in the excellent genes that you and your partner have passed on to them? In the first-class nursery you signed them up for? Or the school that you've carefully chosen -- and possibly fought, pushed and battled to get them a place in?

In fact the seeds of success lie in none of those things, but much, much closer to home -- in your own mind.

If you, as a parent, can understand, right from the beginning, that school life is a journey that will always have triumphs and set-backs along the way, that test and exam results, though important, are never everything and that activities such as music and sports are there to delight and absorb your child, not as competitive ladders for them to climb, then you will be well on the way to having a successful school student.

Holding such attitudes in mind will stop you being a helicopter, a snow plow or any other manifestation of overwrought, over-anxious parenthood. Instead you will be the kind of balanced, equable and, yes, adult parent a child needs in order to relax into school life.

Then add the positives.

If you can encourage your child to enjoy school, feel optimistic about learning and keep on doing their best no matter what happens, then a great school career is almost guaranteed.


Because, broadly speaking, schools and teachers work hard to offer a good education to their students, and a cheerful, willing child who is able to meet them halfway and absorb what they have to offer will do well in their care.

At the same time, a child who has been encouraged to feel positive and hopeful about learning, and resilient in the face of difficulties, will ride out mediocre and inadequate teaching far better than a child who simply buckles when things do not go to plan. They'll know how to ask for help, look up things for themselves, and find ways to keep going despite the set-backs.

And that's without all the other myriad benefits that cheerful, positive attitudes to school bring - being able to make friends easily, feeling secure enough not to be mean or a bully, being willing to try new activities, and not feeling too badly if things don't immediately turn out as intended.

So look deeply into your own head and heart if you want your child to do well at school. Take out your own attitudes, hold them up to the light, and have a long, hard look at them. Make a note of what you're modeling and encouraging at home -- then send your child off to school well-equipped and ready to succeed.

Read more about supporting your child at school in Hilary Wilce's The 6 Secrets of School Success available on Amazon