Call me old-fashioned but with all the changes the education system has gone under in the past few years, it’s up to parents now more than ever to make sure their child is reaching their full potential at school. While the primary learning that you instilled in them as a baby, toddler and preschooler are now being left in the hands of highly-qualified teachers at school, it doesn’t mean that you have to completely remove yourself from the education equation. Actually, teachers hope you’ll do just the opposite and continue your role in their learning success. Not quite sure how to go about that? Don’t worry, you’re not alone, and there are plenty of ways for you as a parent to ensure your child’s school success from home.
1. Read together
The statistics still say that reading to/with your child 20 minutes a day is one of the most important things you can do as a parent. So whether they already know how to read or are still learning, it’s still important for you to take the time to read with them. The best time to do this is before bed and as they graduate from picture books with small words to chapter books, take turns reading aloud and talking about what’s happening in the book. Who knows, there could be a bookworm inside them just waiting to come out!
2. Healthy habits begin at home
Although we’re just coming off summer where most parents (including me) are a little more lenient about bedtime and morning routines, it’s important to set a good routine for the school year to keep them on task. Making sure they get plenty of sleep, eat a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner, get exercise and not spend too much time playing on computers and watching TV, are all important elements to them being successful during the school year. While, of course, you still want them to have fun with friends and have time to play, it’s just as important that they have the most energy saved for listening and learning during class. If it helps them focus, try setting up a reward chart where they can see their progress in school matched with rewards like watching TV, computer time and playdates.
3. Designate a homework space
Just as we like having our own desk space, your kids also need a designated place in the home where they can feel comfortable doing their homework. Even if it’s little worksheets or reading a handful of pages out of a book, making a special area for them to do their homework will give them that extra boost they need to get it done. Places to consider as homework areas include their own in-room desk, the dining room table, a reading nook, or in my home we have lap desks for the couch, available at RoomitUp.com, $24. Wherever you find the space, make sure it’s comfortable for them and free from distractions like the TV and yes, even siblings!
4. Learn from the world around you
While sitting at a desk in school is important to their learning success, it’s also just as important for them to be aware and learn from the world around them. Taking trips to local museums, the farmers’ market and day-trips to other areas are all a great chance for you to talk about geography, science, history, math and to practice reading. In fact, you don’t have to leave home, doing simple things around the house like having them help with laundry, cooking and yard work are also great ways to sneak in little lessons.
5. Be involved
One of the best ways to really ensure your child’s success in school is to be involved and be present in their lives and education. We all get busy with work and other activities but sometimes we have to take a moment and remember that they are our greatest asset and the future of our world. The first years of school are just a prerequisite of what’s to come for them as they continue their life-long education journey. Talking with their teachers about their progress and being involved in school activities like the PTA is a great way to ensure their continued interest and success in school.