Parent Tips to Help Your Child Be Successful in School
Set the stage for a productive study routine
Just as a bedtime routine prepares kids to sleep, a homework routine can help them prepare to study. Start your child's routine with an announcement that homework time is about to begin. Offer prompts on what to do: "Put your toys away." "Clear the table." "Get your books." Ignore complaints and attempts to bargain for more time. To set the stage, bring a glass of water or school supplies to the table.
As Mark Twain once noted, a person who doesn't read books has no advantage over a person who can't read them. To motivate your child to read, allow him to keep the light on at bedtime as long as he is reading. On weekends, take the whole family to the library to browse, then go out for ice cream. Plan regular family reading times, too, where you turn off screen devices and read a favorite book together.
Research makes it clear: All parents, no matter their own level of education, can help their children succeed in school. To do it, set high, but realistic, goals for your child. Then stress the importance of persistence, and praise her efforts and progress. Set reasonable rules and consequences. Keep in touch with your child's teachers, and spend time with your child. Listen to her, and share your family's values.
It may sound surprising, but daydreaming can be a useful activity as kids start thinking in more abstract terms. Daydreaming helps children reduce stress. It allows them to be creative, develop empathy and spend time on self-reflection. Give your child some free time and a place where he can daydream undisturbed. Build a little downtime into family activities, too. After a ball game, relax on a hill. Watch the clouds.
You want your child to behave and be safe at school. So, be sure to discuss behavior and safety issues. Review the school rules and discipline policies together, and let your child know you expect her to follow them. Get involved with school efforts to prevent problems such as bullying among students. Meeting your child's friends and their families will also help you ensure that she spends time in safe, well-supervised settings.
What do you do to celebrate special days in your child's life? Did you take pictures on the first day of school? Did you save a lock of hair from his first haircut? Getting a library card is another big "first." It opens a world of learning to your child. If he doesn't have a library card yet, take him to get one. Then do something special to celebrate. Take a picture or fix a treat. And be sure to make regular library visits all year.
What can you do to help your child with homework this year? First, make sure she has a quiet, well-lit place to work, a regular daily homework time and basic supplies, such as paper, pencils, pens and a ruler. Then, ask questions, such as: What's your assignment today? Is it clear? When is it due? Do you have a long-term assignment? Have you made a plan for completing it? Do you need special resources?