Nothing is more important than education - the days when people could be a huge success without some sort of formal education are gone (even then one would argue that only a few talented geniuses managed to become Bill Gates or Henry Ford).Today's post is for you parents out there . . . a series of things that you can do to help your child succeed in school.
Consider all that you've done to set the tone for learning. From the time your children were little, you took the lead in introducing new vocabulary, reading countless bedtime stories, and cheering on each new skill and accomplishment. Now that they're getting older, though, it might be easy to step back and let them flourish or flounder on their own. . . gradually! *smile*
Make sure your kids are getting enough ZZZ’s.
A lack of sleep can have a serious impact on children’s abilities to learn and perform at school. So set a bedtime routine and keep to it every single night. Flashing images affect REM, so be sure to turn off the computer and television at least thirty minutes prior to bedtime. Take away the cell phones during nighttime hours—62% of kids admit they use it after the lights go out and their parents are clueless. Watch out for caffeinated sleep stealers like cold medications, chocolate, or energy-drinks.
Respect their learning style
If your son insists on plugging into his iPod when he studies, or if your daughter swears that flash cards are the only way she can learn her spelling words- listen up! While you may prefer a quiet room with no distractions when it comes to getting work done, that doesn’t mean it’s the best way for your kids to concentrate and get down to business. Harvard researcher, Howard Gardner’s work shows there are eight kinds of intelligences-or ways kids learn best-which include: musical, spatial, logical-mathematical, linguistic, bodily, intrapersonal, interpersonal and naturalist. The trick is to pay attention to your kids so you can identify how they learn best and then to tap into that to help them be more successful.
15 Minutes a Day Would Make a Huge Difference
What is the one skill that your child needs the most help with? Is it learning to read? Mastering basic multiplication facts? Spelling? Talk with your child's teacher about the one skill that your child most needs to develop right now, and begin to work on that skill for 15 minutes a day. If that seems like too large of a chunk of time, break it up to five minutes at breakfast, five minutes in the car, and five minutes at dinner time. Then, over the next couple of months, watch as your child's overall school performance is impacted by mastering this one crucial skill. This can be done informally - there are times when families tune one another out - while doing errands in thecar - these opportunities for informal review are useful. The caveate to this is to not go overboard - if your child is struggling with school and suffers from a low self-esteem as a result drilling the multiplication tables daily won't help.
Talk to your children about what events are most important to them. For example, if they really want you to attend the school play, but aren't as concerned about whether you're able to chaperon a field trip, use that knowledge to plan your involvement. In addition, make a habit of maintaining a family calendar so that you're aware of the events that are coming up. And remember, no matter how old your child is, he or she still needs you to be involved at school.
Reinforce Expectations at Home
If your child is having difficulty living up to some classroom expectations, look for ways to incorporate and reinforce those expectations at home. For example, if your child has difficulty not interrupting the teacher during classroom instruction, make sure that you're not inadvertently reinforcing the habit of interrupting at home. Or, if your child is expected to write down his or her homework assignments every day on a certain notepad, make sure that you're checking it regularly. Supporting classroom expectations from the home front will make it easier for your child to follow through on his or her responsibilities within the classroom, too.
Communicate Questions and Concerns
Never allow questions or concerns to build up. Most teachers do have e-mail, so getting in touch to follow up on an issue or keep your child's teacher in the loop on something is easy and really does not take much time. Know, too, that being proactive and making an effort to communicate your concerns before something goes awry is an effective way to leverage your child's success in school. Remember to do this within the appropriate boundaries - your child's teacher only SEEMS to work 24 hours a day - don't contact them at home, don't seek advice if you happen to see them in the supermarket. Teachers are professionals, like other professionals there are times when they are pleased to assist and communicate and there are other times when their 'office' is closed. Respect that.
Lead by Example
Finally, remember that you set the tone for your child's success in school. When your child knows that you take school seriously, and don't disregard or show disrespect for your child's teachers, you equip your child to put forth the very best effort. In addition, when your child sees you reading for pleasure, putting your own skills and education to use, and continuing to grow and learn as an adult, you help your child make the connection between what he or she is learning at school and how that growth applies in the real world.