Immediate Influence

Parents are teachers

Parent construct: Caring parents

Babies enter the school of life on the day they are born. Fifty years ago, doctors said, “Babies are basically blobs.” Grandmothers knew better, and taking a cue from them, scientists discovered that babies become active learners within minutes of being born. They learn from the hundreds of interactions they have with other people every day. Simple things like playing peek-a-boo teach them how to look for interesting things. When they make a gesture for “more” and get more, they are learning to communicate. By moving their muscles and exploring every inch of their environment, they learn about their world at the same time they learn coordination and build muscles. Babies go to “language school” whenever others talk to them. The stimulation we give to babies and toddlers sets them on the road to success.

Parents who are involved in learning-related activities, such as homework, parent organizations at school, and attending extra-curricular activities, have children who have better academic outcomes.1 Parents can also encourage learning-related activities by communicating their goals and aspirations for their children as well as their values about education and achievement.1 Despite these positive outcomes from involvement, parental involvement in learning-related activities declines during adolescence.1

Related Interventions



  1. Spera, C. (2005). Adolescents’ perceptions of parental goals, practices, and styles in relation to their motivation and achievement. Journal of Early Adolescence, Vol. 26 No. 4, November 2006 456-490.