As a parent, you are your child’s first and most important teacher. When parents and families are involved in their children’s schools, the children do better and have better feelings about going to school. In fact, many studies show that what the family does is more important to a child’s school success than how much money the family makes or how much education the parents have. There are many ways that parents can support their children’s learning at home and throughout the school year. Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Meet your child’s teacher. As soon as the school year starts, find a way to meet your child’s teacher. Let the teacher know you want to help your child learn. Make it clear that you want the teacher to contact you if any problems develop with your child.
2. Attend parent-teacher conferences and keep in touch with your child’s teacher. Schools usually have one or two parent-teacher conferences each year.
3. Make sure that your child gets homework done. Let your child know that you think education is important and that homework needs to be done each day. You can help your child with homework by setting aside a special place to study, establishing a regular time for homework, and removing distractions such as the television, cell phones and video games during homework time.
4. Find homework help for your child if needed. If it is difficult for you to help your child with homework or school projects, see if you can find someone else who can help. Contact the school, tutoring groups, after school programs, churches, and libraries. Or see if an older student, neighbor, or friend can help.
5. Volunteer at your child’s school and/or join your school’s parent-teacher group. Teachers appreciate it when parents help out at the school! There are many ways you can contribute. You can volunteer in your child’s class or in the school library.
6. Ask questions. If something concerns you about your child’s learning or behavior, ask the teacher or principal about it and seek their advice. Your questions may be like these — What specific problem is my child having with reading? What can I do to help my child with this problem? How can I stop that bully from picking on my son? How can I get my child to do homework?
7. Demonstrate a positive attitude about education to your children. What we say and do in our daily lives can help them to develop positive attitudes toward school and learning and to build confidence in themselves as learners.
8. Monitor your child’s television, video game, and Internet use. American children on average spend far more time watching TV, playing video games and using the Internet than they do completing homework or other school-related activities. This is most important at night! Your child needs more than 8 hours of sleep to function efficiently during the day. Research has proven that adequate sleep is a key ingredient to building intelligence and talent.
9. Encourage your child to read. Helping your child become a reader is the single most important thing that you can do to help the child to succeed in school-and in life. Reading helps children in all school subjects. More important, it is the key to lifelong learning.
10. Talk with your child. Talking and listening play major roles in children’s school success.
It’s through hearing parents and family members talk and through responding to that talk that young children begin to pick up the language skills they will need if they are to do well.
11. Encourage your child to be responsible and work independently.
Taking responsibility and working independently are important qualities for school success.
You can help your child to develop these qualities by establish reasonable rules that you enforce consistently, making it clear to your child that he has to take responsibility for what he does, both at home and at school.
12. Encourage active learning. Children need active learning as well as quiet learning such as reading and doing homework. Active learning involves asking and answering questions, solving problems and exploring interests.
Active learning also can take place when your child plays sports, spends time with friends, acts in a school play, plays a musical instrument or visits museums and bookstores.
To your child’s happiness and wellbeing!
Dot High-Steed is a Health and Life Coach, who has over 25 years of experience in health/wellness, business and education.
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