Parents play a key role in practice

In addition to encouraging parent involvement in school, how can educators help parents nurture in their children the habits of success that will last a lifetime? Which are the most important of the many skills that youth will need? And how can families help them practice those things, with everything else they have to do?

We start with downloadable materials with which educators can reach out to engage parents in the conversation. Our “Advice for Parents” materials mostly target the parents of middle and high school age students, who are the main focus of WKCD’s Practice Project.

For example, this series of two workshops for parents is a great starting place to get the conversation going at a school or community center.

Two interactive videos make it easy for any leader to facilitate conversation. And printed handouts reinforce what parents are learning.

  • Workshop 1 covers homework, managing stress, and self-control.
  • Workshop 2 covers motivation and challenge, keeping at it, curiosity and resourcefulness, and self-confidence.
  • This handout (PDF) can be given to parents to take home after the first workshop. It contains concrete tips to practice with their children at home.

(The links allow you to view video versions of the presentation online. To obtain a DVD of the two workshop presentations—in high resolution PowerPoint with presenter’s notes—and printed copies of the Advice for Parents Handbook, please write us at: .)

This 20-page Advice for Parents Handbook by WKCD summarizes the research on how parents help their children succeed. It offers tips in seven areas: homework, managing stress, self-control, motivation and challenge, keeping at it, curiosity and resourcefulness, and self-confidence.

The guiding principles behind these materials:

  • Our potential is not fixed at birth. Learning science shows that all of us can grow strong and meet challenges if we work hard and stick with it. Inborn talent and predispositions (like laziness or shyness) are just the starting point.
  • Effective practice makes the difference. Practice is the secret to developing our abilities, no matter what level we start at. How we practice makes all the difference in learning to do something well.
  • Habits, like abilities, are also developed through practice. Managing stress. Developing self-control. Keeping at it. Being curious and resourceful. Feeling self-confident. These social and emotional skills are as important as academic skills in laying the foundation for student success—and can be taught and learned. Parents can help their child develop both strong abilities and lasting habits.
  • Success builds on success. The more we achieve, the more we will want to achieve. Parents can help set up a positive learning cycle: when children work hard and get good results, they will want to work harder still.

Browsing through the next section of our site, you’ll find a variety of blog posts that connect with parents about these questions. We hope our site will help start up conversations among parents as well as teachers, and in this section we provide an archive of short pieces to spark your thinking!