So, you think you may have the next Einstein or medicine Nobel prize recipient in your home … or perhaps you simply want to ensure that you give your child the best chance to succeed in life by helping them get a great education.
Whatever your motivation, many parents are interested in finding ways to help their children succeed academically. Educators say that there are specific things that parents can do to enhance their child’s chances of success. Here are six ways to help you help your child do well in school:
1. Read to Your Children, and Encourage Reading Once They Learn
Being that reading is the cornerstone of academic learning, reading to your young child — even before they’re born! — is a great way to expose them to their language. And if they see you reading, they will be more inclined to develop a respect for learning and an interest in reading, which will help them succeed in school.
Once your child is three or older, use reading materials, including children’s tales, as opportunities to teach lessons about character, bravery and so forth. This is also a good time to introduce your child to the concept of behavior and consequences, using ‘bad guys’ in children’s stories as examples of what can happen to people when they do bad things.
As your child gets older, teach her to love to read and write by example. Let her see you writing letters and thank you cards to relatives or typing on the computer; encourage her to assist you with projects like making birthday cards for friends and relatives, dictate a grocery list to her, and so on.
2. Express Love and Acceptance of Your Child, Even When She Doesn’t Get a Top Grade
Parents may have all good intentions when they push their children to succeed academically; but from a basic human perspective, nearly all of us excel at some things but not at others. Difficult as it may be for a parent who himself or herself is highly competitive, the wisest — and kindest — approach for a parent is to let the child discover for themselves what subjects interest them.
Your kid may not get a top grade in math or in English. As a parent, you want to be there for your child, no matter what. Celebrate your kid’s accomplishments, and steer them in a certain direction, to a point; but always remember that each child, each human, is an individual, different from all others.
3. Check Your Child’s Schedule
If you find that your child is neglecting school work, due to time constraints, evaluate their schedule to determine if she or he may have too many commitments. As the parent, you need to take charge of your child’s schedule, to make sure that they are not over-committed, and that there is always enough time for them to do homework and turn in school assignments in a timely manner.
You may have to implement specific rules for the household, such as no TV or Internet until after school work is done. If there are younger children in the household, your budding scholar may need a special place or room set aside where they can concentrate fully, without interruptions.
4. Check on Your Child’s Work When at Home
Take the time to look over your child’s finished homework now and then, to get a sense of how they’re doing in school. Look over their textbooks, assignment books, to get a good sense of the level at which your child is expected to be performing at school.
If your kid sees that his or her school performance is important to you, they will try harder to please you by doing well in school. However, resist the temptation to do their homework for them. Let them try to figure things out on their own, but provide assistance here and there and guide them.
5. Encourage Your Child to Use Their Mind!
Instead of wasting many hours daily on video games or TV, which isn’t doing today’s kids any good, teach your child to develop a love of reading, whether it be novels, biographies, mysteries, science books or the like. Reading will expand their minds, as well as help teach them proper grammar. Doing crossword puzzles and playing Scrabble will help increase their vocabulary. Teach them analytical thinking by having discussions with them about a book they may have read or about something they learned in school or heard on the news.
6. Make Sure Your Child Is Healthy
Keep regular medical and dental check-ups, and eye exams. In addition, support your child’s academic success by insuring that he eats a healthy diet every day, limiting refined sugars and including plenty of fruits, vegetables and calcium-rich foods. Starting the day with a nutritious, healthy breakfast will give your child’s brain the energy it will need for learning. And dinners are a great opportunity to eat healthy, more leisurely family meals, and get caught up on your child’s day.
Also, make sure that you child is getting enough z’s at night. A primary-school child needs 10-11 hours of sleep every night; a teen needs about 9 hours. Take the time to explain to your children that getting enough sleep is vital for their mental functioning and general health; insure that they understand that they’re only hurting themselves, if they rob themselves of sleep frequently, to stay up late reading, watching TV or texting.
7. Get Involved at Your Child’s School
Whether it be attending scheduled parent-teacher conferences, taking the time to meet your child’s teachers personally or even volunteering to help at your child’s school, this is a great way to encourage your child’s interest in school, as well as to learn when there are problems, so that you can take steps to solve them.
Learn what your child’s academic strengths are, and encourage him or her to pursue those subjects. And if there are areas where your child doesn’t excel, encourage them to stick things out and praise them when you see any improvements; this will make them want to keep doing better.
By Jamell Andrews