How to Help your Children Succeed in School
Class is now in session! Summer has officially come to a close and school has begun. Your kids are starting a new grade and leaving home every morning to learn new things and make new friends. However, school is not the only place children should gain an education. The home is the foundation for learning, a safe haven for questions, and the best place to put new knowledge into practice. In order for kids to succeed in school, it is crucial for parents and children to learn together at home. Here are some ideas to get started:
1. Get to know each child’s teacher and school staff. They can help you understand the expectations they have for your children and equip you with at-home learning goals. Attend parent-teacher conferences to stay informed and discuss ways to help your children perform their best. Make sure you speak positively of their teachers so your children understand that teachers should be both trusted and respected. Of course, healthy boundaries should always be discussed.
2. Before sending your children to school, make sure they have had a good night’s sleep and are well fed with a nutritious breakfast. Stick to a routine bedtime and limit last-minute morning preparations to ensure they have enough time to sit down and eat a meal. This will give them the energy they need to focus throughout the entire day.
3. Help your children learn to be organized. This is a skill they will carry with them throughout their lives. Organization of school supplies and things around the home helps organize the mind and limit distractions. Create an assigned notebook and homework folder for each child to help them keep track of school work.
4. Help your children with their homework. They will learn more quickly and be more engaged if they understand that you value their education. Work alongside them and be available to answer questions. Set up a well-lit and comfortable space for them to work and study. This will prevent distractions and help them focus. To set a good example, create your own space where you can pay bills, work on task lists, or even read a book while they are doing homework.
5. One of the most important activities you can do to help your children succeed in school is to read with them. Reading to or with your children encourages active learning in a supportive environment. Being a skillful reader benefits all school subjects and will be an important tool throughout their lives. As you read, ask your children questions about what they think will happen next or how they think the character feels. This helps them engage in the learning experience and look forward to learning.
6. Talk with your children. Children who engage in conversation at home or around the dinner table are more likely to do well in school. Conversation strengthens their language skills which helps with reading and listening proficiency. They will be better able to pay attention in class and follow directions. Ask them questions about their day, friends, activities, and goals. Be sure to share stories with them about your day as well.
7. Help your children enjoy learning. Give them praise when they do well and encourage them to learn from their mistakes. Pay attention to their progress and make sure they feel your approval. Help your children set attainable goals so that they notice their own improvement. Creating charts and establishing a reward system are great ways for children to track their progress.
8. Teach your children the importance of school attendance. There are cases where it is best to keep your children home from school, however, being on time and accountable are important life skills that need to be learned. Children that miss too much school can fall behind and trying to catch up can interfere with current lessons.
9. Actively engage in teaching while completing household chores and everyday tasks. Take advantage of every opportunity to teach your children something new. Practice math and science skills by doubling recipes, or apply reading skills by letting your children read the grocery list at the store. Supplement school classes with extracurricular activities such as learning a new instrument or playing sports. Take the time to visit educational venues such as children’s museums, libraries, and plays. Each experience provides a new opportunity to learn and grow.
10. Monitor television, video game, and internet use. While these tools can support learning, it is important that you find shows and games that teach your children positive lessons and encourages them to listen and question. It is also important to limit time spent on electronics. Though some time may be valuable, too much will take away from other activities that are crucial to development such as reading, spending time with friends, playing outside, or working on a craft.
Your home is a special place, built for many purposes. By actively participating in your children’s education, your home can become a place for continual learning and growth. Your children will appreciate coming home to a space where they feel comfortable discussing what they learned at school and applying new knowledge to everyday experiences. Who knows, you may learn a thing or two yourself!