How to Support Your Kid at School Without Being a Helicopter Parent

Parents can help their children most by getting back to the basics and not trying to solve everything.

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As the school year looms, it’s easy for parents like me to feel a sense of intense pressure. We may worry, sometimes for valid reasons, about our children’s academic progress, independence, and social life. We get caught up in micromanaging and ruminating instead of staying grounded and clear-sighted in our planning.

How do we reduce the pressure and still give our children what they need? A long-term focus on the resilience of our children—their ability to overcome challenges independently—is what can really help them thrive in school. 

As a developmental pediatrician, I believe it’s the proven basics that matter most for a child’s resilience: their belief in their own self-efficacy, strong self-management skills, and reliable relationships. If we can let go of other pressures created by our busy family life, fads and trends within our communities, and information overload on the Internet, we can confidently focus on the tried-and-true instead.

As we start this new school year, here’s what child development research shows builds resilience in our kids.

1. Consistent relationships  

Dr. Robert Brooks, one of the foremost experts on resiliency, emphasizes the benefit of having at least one “charismatic adult” in your life throughout childhood. Dr. Brooks defines…