Future in focus: Ten ways to help kids get ahead in school
As a parent, it is our job to make sure our children have the best chance for success in their lives. Although a large portion of your children’s learning happens at school, it can be argued that they are learning just as much at home. Parents are guides, facilitators of their children’s development and education. If you want to make sure that you are giving your child a great start, here are some ways you can help your kids get ahead in school.
1. Get a Tutor
Most parents only consider a tutor when a child is struggling or falling behind. But a tutor is also a good idea for gifted children and those who are on par. It helps to reinforce and teach new concepts, to create learning strategies and more. Tutor Yard – math tutoring, for instance, is an easily accessible and flexible tutoring agency that can give your child the boost they need.
2. Encourage Curiosity
Give your kids the freedom to ask questions and explore their surroundings. Encourage them to make discoveries and find out how things work. Shutting down curiosity signals to the child that it’s not a valuable trait, that they are a nuisance and you don’t have time for them. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it can help boost your child’s academic development.
3. Make Education a Priority
When your kids know that education is important to you they tend to treat it with more significance. Allow them to see you learn. Odds are that if they see you enjoying the learning process, reading and doing other enriching activities, they too will follow your example. Make more time for museum trips, library visits and other educational experiences and less time for things like television and video games. There’s nothing wrong with those activities but fostering a love for learning will take them a long way.
No matter your child’s reading level, you should make time for daily reading. If your child isn’t too fond of reading, try reading with them or letting them read whatever they like, even if it is well below their reading level. The purpose is for them to see proper language and grammar conventions stretch different brain muscles, promote discussion and develop creative thinking.
5. Teach Study Skills
Part of doing well in school is knowing how to study. And part of studying is knowing how to manage your time. Time management and studying go hand in hand, so teaching your child how to make the time to properly study is crucial as they get older and the difficulty of concepts increases. The organisation is another piece of the study skill puzzle. Helping your children to set up a neat and organised space to tackle their work and a daily schedule or routine can inspire self-motivation and create a better study environment. Teach your children how to take notes, make use of highlighters and color coding.
6. Talk About It
Keep the lines of communication open. When you’re on your way home or to extracurricular activities is a great time to catch up on the day or the week. Allowing the time and space to talk to them about how the school is going and listening can help you figure out what they need to propel them forward. You can take this time to offer encouragement and strategies to break through barriers.
7. Get Involved
You are just as instrumental and influential as your children’s teachers. In fact, you are their first teacher. Be involved in their learning, beyond help with homework and projects. Just as you would cheer them on in a sporting event or chess tournament, rally for them in their schoolwork. Join the parent-teacher association, volunteer at the school, and attend other school functions like plays, book fairs, and conferences. This is particularly helpful with younger children. They love to see a parent at school. It makes them feel special. When they see that you are active at their school, they are more likely to want to be just as engaged as you are.
8. Get Enough Rest
Children need about 10 to 14 hours of rest each night. Our bodies do a lot while we’re asleep. It makes sense of the day and makes connections between memories and “practice” things you learned while you were awake. This process is called consolidation, and everyone does it. If your child isn’t getting enough rest, it may be causing delays in concept comprehension and increased anxiety. Getting a good night’s sleep does more than increase and develop cognition, it also promotes their growth and supports their body systems.
9. Identify Weaknesses
Every child has strengths and weaknesses. It’s important to pay attention to these details in order to help them make sense of how to navigate their uniqueness. When you notice weaknesses in their academics you don’t want to be critical and discourage them. Find ways to address weaknesses in a fun and innovative ways. One way is to involve technology and games. There are tons of educational mobile and web apps that can be used to supplement the instruction they’re receiving in school.
10. Extracurricular Activities
A National Center for Education Statistics study done in 1995 concluded that children ages 12 to 17 who are involved in some sort of extracurricular activity are more likely to be on track academically than those who are not. Allowing your child to engage in extracurricular activities allows them to explore some of the concepts they are working on in school in real-world situations. By bringing different parts of their brain and body into learning, they are better able to apply certain concepts in a school setting.
Supporting and creating a positive learning environment in and outside of school will greatly benefit your children academically. You have what it takes to put your child on the road to becoming a successful student. Creating a passion for learning starts early, but it’s never too late to start.
What do you do to help your children get the best start in life? Share your tips in the comments below.