Helping Your Child Succeed: Helpful PreK-12 Tips

Some of the main academic subjects include reading, math, social studies, and science. Whether your child is struggling in a certain area, or you just want to help them get ahead, this article contains tips you can use to help them succeed in every subject, from preschool through high school. There are also suggestions for how to make sure your children are developing socially and staying healthy.


School Registration Process

To register your child in school you will need to bring all the following documents:

  • A certified copy of the student's birth record
  • A copy of resident's lease, utility bill, or home ownership deed as proof of address
  • Immunization record and Tuberculosis screening
  • Student records from the previous school if the student is transferring schools

You may also have to take your child in for a physical exam by a licensed physician within 12 months of entering school.

Your child can not be turned away from a school on the basis of race, disability, citizenship, national origin, religion, English language speaking ability, or family background.

Preschool Tips


  • Read a book with your child everyday and point out letters, numbers, pictures, colors, shapes, etc. Let your child handle the book, too
  • Talk to your child throughout the day to help build her/his vocabulary
  • Visit the library frequently to familiarize your child with the library's purpose


  • Count. Count. Count! Count everything you see
  • Point out and read numbers on billboards, houses, signs, in stores, and picture books
  • Introduce very simple arithmetic (e.g., if we buy two apples and you eat one, how many do we have left?)


  • Take nature walks and point out trees, flowers, animals, etc.
  • Explain the different kinds of physical reactions when you are cooking, cleaning, or washing
  • Ask your child to describe how different surfaces and objects feel (e.g., rough, soft, warm, cold, etc.)

Social Studies

  • Visit local museums and cultural centers
  • Share stories about family heritage and your ancestors
  • Involve your child in national holidays and celebrations

Social Development and Health

  • Hug, hold, and reassure your child often
  • If your child does not attend a preschool, get her/him involved in a social and physical activity with other children of the same age
  • Teach your child basic safety precautions, hygiene, and healthy eating habits

Elementary School Tips


  • Set aside a time every day for reading a book together and talking about it afterwards.
  • Encourage your child to read what she/he writes out loud
  • Ask your child to help you read a recipe before cooking, read a map while you drive, or read instructions for putting something together


  • Make up questions with numbers that come up in daily life (e.g., how much will 2 boxes of cereal cost? How much change should I get? Help me double a recipe)
  • Encourage your child to draw pictures and diagrams to help solve word problems
  • Make sure your child learns addition and subtraction facts by the end of grade 2 and multiplication and division facts by the end of grade 4


  • Use a telescope, microscope, or magnifying glass with your child and ask her/him to tell you what she/he sees
  • Point out changes in the natural world (e.g., a kitten growing, a rainbow appearing) and encourage your child to find out why they happen
  • Talk to your child about how your state's location affects the weather (e.g., Southern Florida has tropical weather)

Social Studies

  • Be an example of good citizenship by volunteering in community service activities, voting, and talking about issues affecting your local community and state
  • Talk to your child about famous historical figures in the U.S. and around the world
  • Visit historical places in your area

Social Development and Health

  • Always monitor and limit what your child watches on TV or the Internet
  • Discuss social values and appropriate behavior with other people
  • Make sure your child knows about safety, gets enough sleep, and has a healthy diet

Middle School Tips


  • Encourage your child to read different types of literature: newspaper articles, magazines, poems, etc.
  • Ask your child to help you look up words and answers using different resources: dictionaries, the Internet, etc. Help your child link this new knowledge and vocabulary with things learned previously
  • Set aside at least 15 mins. each evening for family reading time.


  • Ask your child to help you make routine calculations (e.g., grocery or other shopping, amount of paint needed to paint a room, cost of weekend activities, etc.)
  • Encourage your child to solve math problems in more than one way
  • Make sure your child has taken pre-Algebra or Algebra by the end of grade 8


  • Read newspaper articles on science together and discuss them
  • If your child's school has a science fair, show excitement about your child's participation
  • Take your child to museums, exhibits, presentations, etc. that feature science discoveries and discuss what you have seen

Social Studies

  • Visit local places of government like city hall and courthouse and discuss their role and responsibilities
  • Encourage your child to become involved with community service and projects
  • Discuss local, national, and international news with your child

Social Development and Health

  • Encourage your child to participate in activities like academic and special interest clubs and sports
  • Sit down together as a family at dinnertime and discuss the day's events
  • Make sure you and/or your family doctor has a discussion with your child about the start of adolescence

High School Tips


  • Help your child choose books and other reading materials that go beyond the assigned reading list for school and that tap into her/his interests or hobbies
  • Encourage your child to share a book he/she has read with friends or family and to start or join a book club
  • Encourage and model reading for pleasure and share interesting tidbits from what you've read with your child


  • Help your child see the range of careers in which math is essential (e.g., accountant, doctor, pharmacist, auto mechanic, etc.)
  • Urge your child to persevere and understand that doing math takes time
  • Ask your child to explain to you the new math concepts being taught in school; if she/he has difficulty doing this, talk to the teacher to see what can be done to help


  • Encourage your child to read the science sections in newspapers and magazines and explain them to you
  • Help your child conduct science experiments that are part of their schoolwork or a science fair project
  • Encourage your child to explore different careers in science (e.g., archeologist, meteorologist, nurse, etc.)

Social Studies

  • Encourage your child to express their opinion on national and world affairs and discuss possible solutions
  • Discuss and compare past and present historical events
  • Talk to your child about the roles that diversity and culture have on society here and around the world

Social Development and Health

  • Be aware of your child's friends, get to know them, set limits and consequences
  • Make sure your child has a clear understanding of negative peer pressure, drugs, sexually transmitted diseases, and maintaining healthy habits
  • Offer your child encouragement and support

Graduation Requirements

Before your child enrolls in the 9th grade, you should find out what the specific graduation requirements are for your child's high school. Generally, high school seniors have to fulfill the following basic requirements:

  • English Language Arts — 4 years
  • Math — 3-4 years
  • Science — 3 years
  • Social Studies — 3-4 years
  • Foreign Language — 2-3 years
  • Visual and Performing Arts — 1-2 years
  • Electives — 1-4 years
  • A passing grade point average (GPA)
  • Passing score on state exam/s

A Note on Resources

The websites listed can help you and your child find resources for school or for fun. If you don't have a computer at home, remember you can use computers at the public library. If you need help, ask the librarian for assistance finding these websites or books on these and other topics.

For More Help with Reading:

For More Help with Math:

For More Help with Science:

For More Help with Social Studies:


You are welcome to print copies or republish materials for non-commercial use as long as credit is given to Colorín Colorado and the author(s). For commercial use, please contact [email protected].

More by this author

Donate to Colorin Colorado

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.