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Keep Your Child on Track With These Attendance Tips

September is Attendance Awareness Month. It’s crucial for kids to attend school every day. Going to school regularly helps your child do well at school—from kindergarten through high school.

When children miss too much school, it can cause them to fall behind. Students who miss a day of school not only miss instructions, but they need to make up the work and catch up with new material at the same time. And doing makeup work is no substitute for actual instruction.

Students are less likely to succeed in school if they miss 10 percent or more of class days over the course of the school year. That means missing about two days of school per month or about 18 days per year.

Research shows:

  • Tennessee students who are often absent in kindergarten are 15 percent less likely to be on grade level in either third grade math or English Language Arts.
  • In the U.S., four out of five students who miss more than 10 percent of both kindergarten and first grade class days are unable to read at their grade level by third grade.
  • The problem continues as students get older. Tennessee students who are chronically absent in ninth grade are 30 percent less likely to graduate on time (62 percent vs. 92 percent).

Tips to Boost Attendance

Make attending school a family priority, and let your children know how important education is throughout life. Not only does attending school every day help your child now, but it sets up good habits in the future for work. Here are some tips to help your children have good long-term attendance:

1. Make sure your children go to school every day unless they are truly sick.

2. Make sure your children keep a regular bedtime and have a morning routine that will keep them on time.

3. Lay out clothes and pack backpacks the night before.

4. The school bus is a good way to make sure your child arrives at school every day on time. Arriving late is not good for your child or their class.

5. Avoid scheduling vacations or doctor appointments when school is in session. If you need to schedule a doctor or dentist appointment during the school year, try to schedule it on early release days, on school holidays or at the beginning or end of the school day.

6. Develop backup plans for getting to school if something comes up. Call on a family member, neighbor, or another parent to take your child to school.

7. Keep track of your child's attendance through your school’s online family portal or parent portal to keep track of absences. If an absence is marked incorrectly, please contact the school attendance secretary.

8. Keep in mind that patterns are formed early. It is harder to break a bad habit (children begging to stay home from school “just this once”) than saying “no” in the beginning.

9. Talk to teachers and counselors for advice if your child is worried or nervous about going to school or shows other signs of not wanting to go to school.

For more information, contact your child’s teacher or check out the parent resources available at attendanceworks.org.

Additional Resources

To learn more about keeping good attendance in the new school year, watch the kidcentral tn video, “Back to School: Help Keep Their Attendance Up.”

Get more tips to help your child, including how to handle common barriers to good attendance.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides tips on how to help your child feel connected to school. Feeling connected is a key factor for attending school regularly, getting better grades and staying in school longer.