Receiving straight A’s at school is certainly not everything. Wait… what?

This may be the polar opposite to what you knew growing up, but with parenting styles and approaches changing over the years, we know that school is so much more than just receiving good grades or awards.

Apart from academic milestones, school builds essential skills in children such as resilience and self-regulation. The wide variety of experiences and activities that make up school life help children grow and develop. Activities such as attending the swimming carnival, participating in school camp, standing up in front of the class to give a speech despite nerves  – all these experiences are important for a child’s overall development.

Life Education Qld Three Elements Succeed At School Podcast

There’s  A LOT of parenting tips and advice out there and it can be very overwhelming. We have an easy-to-remember guide to the three key elements to success at school.

Our Life Education Queensland team spoke with clinical psychologist and former teacher, Dr Judith Locke, for our latest podcast, “Help your child succeed at school”, sharing these three elements with us.


Dr Locke says the first and most important element of success is motivation. “You need to have your child motivated to do well at school,” she says “And the trouble is, if the parent is more motivated than the child, the child usually is less motivated.”  “Because a parent’s eagerness for a child to do well probably will dominate the child to a point that a child gets a bit shruggy about it all. In the same way that if you are more motivated for your partner to take out the garbage, you’ll be reminding them all the time and it’ll start to become your thing rather than their thing.”

Life Education Qld Health Education Success At School Motivation


“You’ve got to make sure that effort is warranted because many children put a lot of effort into things, but sometimes it’s the wrong thing. Whether this may be placing all their effort into the title page of an assignment when their title page is not even marked. You’ve also got to make sure their effort is genuine and it’s not half homework and half checking social media, or being interrupted by distractions which take away their full focus.”

Life Education Queensland Succeed At School Effort


Dr Locke says parents often think ability is the key, believing that if children have the ability, then they should do well at school. She encourages parents to allow their children to accept the consequences of their motivation and effort, to actually kick in their sense of purpose. Dignity alone sometimes has children trying harder because they don’t want to get a C again, or they want to get that award.

Life Education Queensland Succeed At School Ability

Want to listen to more tips for helping your child succeed at school? Listen to the Life Education Queensland podcast with Dr Judith Locke today.

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These factors on their own don’t guarantee results but it’s a combination of all these factors that will add towards the steps to success for your child.

Not only is Dr Locke a former school teacher and clinical psychologist, she is also best-selling author of The Bonsai Child and The Bonsai Student. In the podcast, she shares many more expert parenting tips for success at school and beyond covering topics like how to ease the morning school rush, dealing with separation anxiety, the 5 essential life skills to set your child up for success at school, bullying and the signs to watch out for, and much more.

To hear more of our free resources for families, visit our podcasts here, or you can find us on your favourite podcast platforms.

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