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Attendance Matters

Help Your Child Succeed in School: Build the Habit of Good Attendance

Showing up for school has a huge impact on a student’s academic success starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school. Even as children grow older and more independent, families play a key role in making sure students get to school safely every day and understand why attendance is so important for success in school and on the job.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Starting in kindergarten, too many absences can cause children to fall behind in school.
  • Missing 10 percent (or about 18 days) can make it harder to learn to read. 
  • Students should miss no more than 9 days of school each year to stay engaged, successful and on track to graduation.
  • Students can still fall behind if they miss just a day or two days every few weeks.
  • By 6th grade, absenteeism is one of three signs that a student may drop out of high school.
  • By 9th grade, regular and high attendance is a better predictor of graduation rates than 8th grade test scores.
  • Being late to school may lead to poor attendance.
  • Absences can affect the whole classroom if the teacher has to slow down learning to help children catch up.
  • Attendance is an important life skill that will help your child graduate from college and keep a job.

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

WHAT YOU CAN DO - Make school attendance a priority:

  • Talk about the importance of showing up to school everyday, make that the expectation.
  • Help your child maintain daily routines, such as finishing homework and getting a good night’s sleep. 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 shots.
  • Introduce your child to her teachers and classmates before school starts to help her 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.
  • Avoid medical appointments and extended trips when school is in session.
  • Stay on top of academic progress and seek help from teachers or tutors if necessary. Make sure teachers know how to contact you.
  • Stay on top of your child’s social contacts. Peer pressure can lead to skipping school, while students without many friends can feel isolated.
  • Talk to teachers if you notice sudden changes in behavior. These could be tied to something going on at school
  • Encourage meaningful afterschool activities, including sports and clubs.
  • Ask for help from school officials, afterschool programs, other parents or community agencies if you’re having trouble getting your child to school.

 AttendanceWorks.org