When kids skip school or classes, says attendance expert Ronnie Land, “they’re at extreme risk.”

They get behind and become unmotivated because they don’t understand. That can lead to discipline problems, poor grades, more skipping and, for some, even dropping out.

But that’s not all, Land warns. When students aren’t in school, they are often somewhere doing things they’re not supposed to be doing. They pick up undesirable behaviors. They can easily become victims of crime.

Some parents don’t know when their children are skipping school. Others know but don’t know what to do about it. Land urges parents to:

• Check your child’s attendance. Call the teacher or the school. Note attendance on your child’s report card.

• Be on the alert. Watch for sudden drops in grades. Check on daily assignments. (Does he have them? Does she appear “hopelessly” behind?)

• Make school attendance a priority. Talk about it. Say why you think it’s important.

• Set a good example. Go to work—despite that headache. Don’t pull your child out of school for pursuits of pleasure.

• Provide incentives. This can be weekend outings or special time with you. Make sure it’s something your child views as a reward.

• Be involved. Schools take students’ attendance very seriously. Volunteer to hep with the attendance program.

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