OZARK, Mo. — Teachers have children in the classroom for about seven hours a day, but what happens during the other 17 hours can make or break your child’s success in school.

Attitude can make all the difference, says a University of Missouri Extension human development specialist.

“Parents need to be very involved in their children’s education, starting with a good positive attitude about education,” said Renette Wardlow. “Often times, parents who had a bad attitude about the entire school environment tend to carry that over to their children. Just stay positive about it. Keep those negative comments to yourself.”

Demonstrate the value of learning by reading to your children, having books available for them and modeling persistence and hard work. “Children often mirror what their parents say and do,” Wardlow said. “And we all know that often times young children will say what’s on their mind, or repeat what they had heard in the past. So we have to watch what we say and do.”

Set aside time every day to talk about school. Whether it’s during the drive to and from school or during the family dinner, make sure your child knows you are very interested in what they’re learning and how they’re doing in class, she said.

Give your children the tools they will need to succeed at school.

“Good study habits are absolutely essential,” she said. Designate a specific time and place for studying and doing homework. “It’s just a good idea to get the child in tuned to a regular routine and a regular habit every day, so that the homework really is a priority each night.”

Children can get very frustrated when trying to understand new concepts. “It’s important for parents to maintain that positive attitude and encourage their child,” Wardlow said. “It might require sitting down with them to try to explain further what the assignment is about. Frustration is just part of life and trying to minimize it as much as possible will help that child feel better about their school experience.”

Finally, remember that you are in partnership with your child’s teacher, Wardlow said. Be there for parent conferences and school events. If you see your child struggling, make an appointment with the teacher right away, and maintain good communication with both the teacher and school.

If you stay active and involved in your child’s education, you won’t have to be surprised by the arrival of a bad report card.