To help your child succeed in school, treat schoolwork as more important than television, music and videos, say 95 percent of the nation's elementary and middle school principals.
But first, they'd like you to watch their new 15-minute video.
Packed with charming children and caring adults, it dramatizes tips for parents too rushed or too TV-oriented to read them in a free 17-page booklet that was released yesterday along with the $19.95 video.
The tips in "The Little Things Make a Big Difference" are based on results of a survey of nearly 10,000 elementary and middle school principals. The advice is far from exotic:
* When your children ask a question, answer it right away.
* Display their artwork and school triumphs on the refrigerator.
* Try a new sport or hobby. Take a class. Show your children that learning isn't something you just do in school. Show it's OK to make mistakes.
In an effort to reach parents or caretakers who are unlikely to join PTAs, the material will be distributed through such agencies as food-stamp providers and well-baby clinics, said Alvin Granowski, a reading specialist at World Book Educational Products, which worked with the National Association of Elementary School Principals on the project. The video will be available for free borrowing and copying at 1,700 Blockbuster video rental outlets.
Asked if the advice is too simple, Mr. Granowski said: "Didn't you ever hear a kid ask a question in a store, and the parent shouts 'Shut up, don't bother me!'? Well, that parent knows better. But people get tired, they get rushed, they forget."
For a free copy of the booklet, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to World Book Educational Products, Station 9/NAESP, Elk Grove Village, Ill. 60007.