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September 23, 2019


ThedaCare Pediatrician Offers Suggestions for Families

September 23, 2019


ThedaCare Pediatrician Offers Suggestions for Families

APPLETON, Wis. – What are some ways to support your child academically this school year? ThedaCare pediatricians explain a lot of it comes down to parental involvement. Studies over the years have proved time and again that parental involvement is the greatest predictor of student success.

“Parental involvement comes in many forms,” explained Michael Jakubowski, MD, a pediatrician with ThedaCare Physicians Pediatrics-Appleton. “It often involves listening well, being available, responding to a child’s needs, predicting problems and communicating constantly. It also means keeping your child healthy, mentally, physically and emotionally.”

According to the National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education (NCPIE), an involved parent, no matter the income level or educational achievement, means higher grades and test scores for students as well as regular school attendance and better social skills.

Dr. Jakubowski offers these suggestions for parents:

  1. Listen well. Take the time to listen to any concerns or challenges your child has as well as the triumphs. Modeling good listening not only shows you’re interested in what the child has to say, it also helps a student follow direction and pay attention in class. 
  2. Be available. Make yourself available to your child and his or her teachers. Set time aside to help your child with homework and prepare for tests. Attend parent-teacher conferences and volunteer – at school events, in the cafeteria or library – to stay better connected to the school and the people in it. Participate in active learning, engaging your child in problem solving and interests. 
  3. Take action. If your child asks for help, respond to his or her needs sooner rather than later, whether it’s finding a tutor or applying for special services your child might need.
  4. Predict problems. Stay on top of trends like cyberbullying and appropriate screen time. If you sense your child will have trouble in certain subjects, talk to the teacher. Ask questions of your child: are you having trouble learning or studying? Are there any issues with any students, teachers, or administrator? Follow-up with the teacher. Advocate for your child and partner with teacher and administrators to develop a plan to prevent any academic mishaps.
  5. Communicate constantly. With the teacher, make sure they know to contact you if any issues arise with your child. Ask them if there are any problems. Let the teacher know you want to partner with them in your child’s education. Also, show your child how you value education through positive talks about school and learning, which will build a child’s confidence as a learner.
  6. Update immunizations. Stay current on immunizations for serious illness prevention.
  7. Enhance brain health. Feed your child’s brain with nutrient-rich foods that keep him or her alert and mentally sharp, a plant-based diet with greens and fruits. Fish, nuts and seeds, oatmeal as well as eggs and Greek yogurt are all excellent foods to nourish the brain. Eating a solid breakfast will keep energy levels up until lunchtime.

“Don’t forget to exercise at least 60 minutes a day to keep the oxygen going and blood flowing through the brain,” said Dr. Jakubowski. “Families can exercise together by walking around the neighborhood or playing at the park.”

Dr. Jakubowski also encourages adequate rest nightly.

“Sleep has a profound impact on brain health, restoring brain function by clearing out toxins that build up during the day,” he said. “Be sure that your child is getting the amount of sleep recommended for their age group.”

Dr. Jakubowski says health problems – mental, emotional, social and physical – can become barriers to learning for children.

“As parents, we must be there to support our children,” he said. “If they know they are supported, it can set them up for a lifetime of success. Working together to keep kids healthy is one of the most important things we can do.”

About ThedaCare

For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to improving the health of the communities it serves in Northeast and Central Wisconsin. The organization delivers care to a community of more than 600,000 residents in 14 counties and employs more than 7,000 healthcare professionals. ThedaCare has 180 locations including seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, New London, Shawano, Waupaca and Wild Rose. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a not-for-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service.

For more information, visit or follow ThedaCare on Facebook and Twitter.

Media should call Cassandra Wallace, Public Relations Specialist at 920.442.0328 or the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah switchboard at 920.729.3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.