Help Your Child Succeed: Build the Early Habit of Regular School Attendance

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school attendance

Studies show school attendance is vitally important to future academic success. Here, Dr. Max J Coppes, Physician-in-Chief of Renown Children’s Hospital and a member of the Northern Nevada Grade-Level Reading Coalition, explains why.

School success goes hand in hand with good school attendance. Educational success also has been proven to be a predictor of future health outcomes.

Did you know?

  • Starting in pre-K and kindergarten, too many absences can cause children to fall behind in school.
  • Missing 10 percent (about 2 days per month) can make it harder to learn to read.
  • Students can still fall behind if they miss just a day or two days every few weeks.
  • Being late to school may lead to poor attendance.
  • Absences can affect the whole classroom when the teacher has to help children who missed school time catch up.

Attending school regularly helps children feel better about school – and themselves. Start building this habit in preschool so they learn right away that going to school on time, every day is important. Good school attendance in preschool will help children do well later on, including in high school, college and at work.

What you can do to encourage school attendance:

  • Set a regular bed time and morning routine.
  • Lay out clothes and pack backpacks the night before.
  • Find out what day school starts and make sure your child has the required immunizations (if you are not sure ask your pediatrician).
  • Introduce your child to the teachers and classmates before school starts. This really helps with the transition.
  • Don’t let your child stay home unless she is truly sick. Keep in mind complaints of a stomach ache or headache can be a sign of anxiety and not a reason to stay home.
  • If your child seems anxious about going to school, talk to teachers, school counselors or other parents for advice on how to make her feel comfortable and excited about learning.
  • Develop back-up plans for getting to school if something comes up. Call on a family member, a neighbor or another parent to help out.
  • Avoid medical appointments and extended trips when school is in session.

As Physician-in-Chief of Renown Children’s Hospital and a member of the Northern Nevada Grade-Level Reading Coalition, I believe that your child’s time in school is very important, no matter what age the student is. Make sure your children get their chance to learn all they can. Good education improves the health and wellbeing of your child and our community as a whole.

Contributed by Dr. Max J Coppes, Physician-in-Chief Renown Children’s Hospital, and Nell J Redfield Chair of Pediatrics, UNR Med

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