What Factors Contribute to Academic Success in Children?

Article Details
  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
Pizza is one of the most universally addictive foods, due to its irresistible combination of fat, sugar, and salt.  more...

December 14 ,  1911 :  The first explorers reached the South Pole.  more...

There are a host of factors that contribute to academic success for children, and there are many theories as to what will help increase the academic success of your child. Some issues may be out of the parent’s purview or control. Others can be modified to give your child a great start in school and continued success.

The broad stroke issues that can influence performance in school include socioeconomic status, parenting, amount of time spent with children, quality and quantity of time spent away from primary caregivers, degree of physical and mental health, and effects of peer relationships. Other things that may influence success in school include motivational and well-trained teachers, parental expectation, reading at age appropriate levels, and meeting of nutritional needs. Each child is also an individual and needs to be addressed as such in the home and any daycare setting in order to help the child fully succeed in school.


It’s important to remember that factors for academic success are statistically based, which means some children will be academically successful despite being at high risk for academic failure. We have all heard stirring and motivational stories of people who rose from poverty, abuse, cultures of violence, and other terrible circumstances to great heights through continued trying and sheer gumption. Such self-motivated individuals may be helped along the way by teachers, perhaps the only resource, in some cases, to achieve their dreams. These kids who succeed are wonderful, but tend to be exceptional in ability to self-motivate, something that may be stripped of other children in similar circumstances.

Probably one of the greatest determining factors in succeeding in school is parental involvement and parental motivation. About 70-90% of children who get As or Bs in schools report they are encouraged by parents to do well in school. This alone may help children understand that school is important. Such parents may also be around to help with homework, occasionally volunteer at school, and they attend any conferences or meetings with teachers. In contrast, children who earn Cs or lower, at least in one study, report at about 49% that parents do not encourage them. Schools also regularly report that better performance and academic success are more likely when parents are actively involved in their child’s education.

Socio-economic indicators for success in children tend to exclude the children — about 19% in the US — who live in poverty. Middle class and upper class children tend by in large to get better grades, while children from poorer families, especially the poorest, are more likely to repeat grades. Traumatic events, abusive parenting, the impact of violence, and being parented by a single parent frequently correlates to lower grades. In the last instance, what seems to most determine academic success is the degree to which a single parent has time to share with children, since the single parent in most cases must work at least full time to support his or her family. It is clearly the case that many single parents do very well with this, and are able to balance the needs of work and family and be extraordinary parents.

Quality childcare and early childhood education, especially of a caliber that helps children develop socially, mentally, and emotionally, tends to be a positive factor in succeeding in school. Conversely, childcare in crowded institutions that are the only choices for parents on a budget may not give children the skills they need to do well in school. Programs for children like early intervention pre-schools and Head Start do tend to make a difference.

Getting adequate nutrition can’t be underestimated. Many studies have shown that students perform better on standardized tests when given breakfast the day of the test. While this is great knowledge to have, many parents wonder why students aren’t then fed every day, since grades are usually not determined by standardized test performance. When schools can offer free or reduced lunch programs these may positively affect academics, but many argue these programs are not far reaching enough and cover only the most impoverished children.

Regular school attendance tends to produce more successful students. Frequent absences, due to illness, disruptive home life, or chronic conditions negatively affects success. Peer relationships, especially when instances of bullying occur, can affect both attendance and academic success, so both parents and educators must be vigilant to potential bullying or abusive situations in the school setting.

This short list is only part of the factors that create academic success. There are clearly many things that will affect student performance, and it takes fine teachers, great schools, and good parents to help each child progress.


You might also Like


Discuss this Article

Post 11

Children's achievement solely comes from the parents. Children really need 100 percent support from the parents. It could be financial or emotional.

Post 10

On the above post about the seven things needed for a child from the parenting, I think number 1 should be communication. If the child does not have this skills set (or even worse, if they model bad communication styles), they might not really be heard by others in their environment. This includes the interplay between parents and the other family members as well. Even when we become adults, our communications skills will directly impact every facet of our lives.

Post 7

I fully believe, drawing from personal experience both as an individual and as a parent, that the following are keys to success, both academically and in achieving life’s goals:

1) Self-reliance: Teaching a child that they have the tools, skills and abilities to accomplish almost anything they set their mind to do.

2) Perseverance: Only when children understand the relationship between effort expended and quality of the reward will they push themselves as individuals. As parents, we cannot expect to motivate them in every endeavor. A key focal point for parents is to prepare our children for adulthood.

3) Perception: Kids are great at perceiving the world around them when young. This tends to dissipate as they grow older, however

. By re-introducing them to the idea of being aware or “present in the moment” children will see, assimilate and appreciate life in a more flexible way. This facilitates understanding, discovery and exploration, eventually building a significantly larger knowledge base than their peers.

4) Confidence: This is similar to self-reliance. I would add that confidence is important in times of doubt or when faced with a troubling situation. Children must have the confidence in you as a parent to be unfailing in your support, love and understanding. There is also the aspect of faith in relation to being confident in one’s life. However, in my experience, faith did not apply until I was in my early teens.

5) Introspection: By this I mean to invite your child to take time to think about the day, about how they feel. Encourage your child to spend time reflecting on what they’ve learned, witnessed, experienced or discussed. It does not necessarily have to involve a conversation, although that is sometimes outstanding to have. Rather, the idea is to get your child to contemplate life rather than absorbing it at face value. This promotes creative thinking and a deeper intimacy with the experiences a child has had. It is a known fact the more a brain references a subject/experience, the more developed that neural pathway becomes, thereby facilitating rapid and vivid recollection.

6) Balance: Just as a life is wasted when spent watching TV all day, so it can be argued that life isn’t truly lived when spent pursuing academics. Teaching your child balance ensures they maximize the experiences that define their life. Balance opens doors, promotes thoughtful time management techniques and prioritization and gives your young one time to contemplate what they’ve learned thus far.

7) Effective communication: I am throwing this one in last, because I do not believe it applies to all children. However, in my situation, effective communication had a deep impact on my life. Allowing for open, loving and effective communication between parent and child is paramount in situations where the parent is working long hours. Also, in situations of emotional distress/divorce/abuse, the child needs to have a champion and mentor -- normally a parent -- but someone with whom they can speak candidly about life.

Remember: you can have the most gifted child the Earth has ever seen, but if they are shut down or isolated by their environment, it will significantly impact the level to which they achieve and the choices they make. One only need reference a regret in their own life to understand my point. Could/would/should have can be dispelled by simply resolving that you will endeavor to be available and open with your child.

All my very best to you and yours in this grand life’s adventure!

Post 4

How would I reference your article?

Moderator's reply: Thank you for visiting wiseGEEK. We post all of the applicable information we can provide on each article page -- that doesn’t include the published date or sources. Generally, the accessed date works for bibliographies calling for a date. You’ll find the author's name below the article, center-justified.

Check out the related question in our FAQ for more information about citing to wiseGEEK articles:

Post 3

I think that the potty training has more to do with the feeling of success early, but never think that just because your child didn't potty train until later had anything to do with your parenting or the time spent. each child is different.

As a teacher, I can tell you that some kids no matter how much time their parents help and spend with them at home still struggle and still need more help. Every child is different and reach levels of development and learning at different levels. While these areas have been shown to help increase students success they do not fit every mold and every child.

Post 2

I think potty training late has little to do with achievement so don't worry. both of my boys trained by three to four years old.

What really contributes to achievement is structure at home and high expectations. Children only achieve to the level expected of them. Set the bar too low that's where they will be. Set the bar high and your children will always seek to achieve more.

A good example is important too. We do homework together, read together as well, and I limit electronics (both are geeks) so it can disturb the routine if too much of anything.

I also demonstrated to them the importance of education as they were aware that I was completing my MBA with an A average! Children will only learn to the expectations set for them so set your child's high and they will do great!

Post 1

i actually heard that early potty training correlates to high achievement as adults! who knew?! if it's true, then my kids are destined for failure! ;-)

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?