Parents these days want their children to be on top of the game and each one thinks predominantly that my child is unique, fabulous and can conquer the world if directed in the right direction. In this nasty world of competition where kids can fume and fret at every minute thing, where love comes to them only from what they see and feel in their nascent years, and where schooling and learning have become multimedia to a large extent it is has become increasingly important to keep a watch and get involved actively in your child’s learning process to keep them from right or wrong.
Gone are the days when parents just looked eye to eye with their children and the kid knew something was fishy. A whack these days can result in severe trauma and stress even for kids. Parenting has to be careful and loving.
Based on my experience as an English and German trainer here are a few guidelines that might help you get involved and be there for your kids.
I am sure all of us are doing a wonderful job but there is a thin line between being harsh and being a careful parent. I hope you find it through this article.
Support Homework Expectations
Homework reinforces and extends classroom learning and helps kids practice important study skills. It also helps them develop a sense of responsibility and a work ethic that will benefit them beyond the classroom.
In addition to making sure your child knows that you see homework as a priority, you can help by creating an effective study environment. Any well-lit, comfortable, and quiet workspace with the necessary supplies will do. Avoiding distractions (like a TV in the background) and setting up a start and end time can also help.
A good rule of thumb for an effective homework and/or study period is roughly 10 minutes per elementary grade level. Fourth-graders, for example, should expect to have about 40 minutes of homework or studying each school night. If you find that it’s often taking significantly longer than this guideline, talk with your child’s teacher.
While your child does homework, be available to interpret assignment instructions, offer guidance, answer questions, and review the completed work. But resist the urge to provide the correct answers or complete the assignments yourself. Learning from mistakes is part of the process and you don’t want to take this away from your child.
Send Your Child To School Ready To Learn
A nutritious breakfast fuels up kids and gets them ready for the day. In general, kids who eat breakfast have more energy and do better in school. Kids who eat breakfast also are less likely to be absent, and make fewer trips to the school nurse with stomach complaints related to hunger.
You can help boost your child’s attention span, concentration, and memory by providing breakfast foods that are rich in whole grains, fiber, and protein, as well as low in added sugar. If your child is running late some mornings, send along fresh fruit, nuts, yogurt, or half a peanut butter and banana sandwich. Many schools provide nutritious breakfast options before the first bell.
Kids also need the right amount of sleep to be alert and ready to learn all day. Most school-age kids need 10 to 12 hours of sleep a night. Bedtime difficulties can arise at this age for a variety of reasons. Homework, sports, after-school activities, TVs, computers, and video games, as well as hectic schedules, can contribute to kids not getting enough sleep.
Lack of sleep can cause irritable or hyperactive behaviour and might make it hard for kids to pay attention in class. It’s important to have a consistent bedtime routine, especially on school nights. Be sure to leave enough time before bed to allow your child to unwind before lights out and limit stimulating diversions like TV, video games and Internet access.
Teach Organizational Skills
When kids are organized, they can stay focused instead of spending time hunting things down and getting sidetracked.
Check your child’s assignment book and homework folder every school night so you’re familiar with assignments and your child doesn’t fall behind. Set up a bin for papers that you need to check or sign. Also, keep a special box or bin for completed and graded projects and toss papers that you don’t need to keep.
Talk to your child about keeping his or her school desk orderly so papers that need to come home don’t get lost. Teach your child how to use a calendar or personal planner to help stay organized.
It’s also helpful to teach your child how to make a to-do list to help prioritize and get things done. It can be as simple as:
- put your things away
No one is born with great organizational skills, they need to be learned and practiced.
Teach Study Skills
Studying for a test can be scary for young kids, and many educators assume parents will help their kids during the grade-school years. Introducing your child to study skills now will pay off with good learning habits throughout life.
In elementary school, kids usually take end-of-unit tests in math, spelling, science, and social studies. Be sure to know when a test is scheduled so you can help your child study ahead of time rather than just the night before. You also might need to remind your child to bring home the right study materials, such as notes, study guides, or books.
Teach your child how to break down overall tasks into smaller, manageable chunks so preparing for a test isn’t overwhelming. You also can introduce your child to tricks like mnemonic devices to help with recalling information. Remember that taking a break after a 45-minute study period is an important way to help kids process and remember information.
Your child probably will be introduced to standardized testing in elementary school. While students can’t really study for standardized tests, some teachers provide practice tests to help ease students’ worries.
Whether kids are just starting kindergarten or entering their last year of elementary school, there are many reasons for non-working parents to get involved. It’s a great way for parents to show they’re interested in their kids’ education.
Many grade-schoolers like to see their parents at school or at school events. But follow your child’s cues to find out how much interaction works for both of you. If your child seems uncomfortable with your presence at the school or with your involvement in an extracurricular activity, consider taking a more behind-the-scenes approach. Make it clear that you aren’t there to spy — you’re just trying to help out the school community.
Parents can get involved by:
- being a classroom helper
- organizing and/or working at fundraising activities and other special events, like annual days and book fairs
- planning class parties
- attending school board meetings
- joining the school’s parent-teacher group
- working as a library assistant
- reading a story to the class
- attending school concerts or plays
Even giving a few hours during the school year can make a strong impression on your child.
Take Attendance Seriously
If your child is missing you a lot on school and other important scheduled classes, make sure to check with the teacher about any work that needs to be completed.
Sometimes students want to stay home from school and other activities because of problems with classmates, assignments or grades, or even teachers. This can result in real symptoms, like headaches or stomachaches. If you think there’s a problem at school, talk with your child, and then perhaps with the teacher, to find out more about what’s causing the anxiety. The school counselor or school psychologist also might be able to help.
Also try to avoid late bedtimes, which can result in tardy and tired students. A consistent sleep schedule also can help students.
Make Time To Talk About School
It’s usually easy to talk with elementary students about what’s going on in class and the latest news at school. You probably know what books your child is reading and are familiar with the math being worked on. But parents can get busy and forget to ask the simple questions, which can have an effect on children’s success at school.
Because communication is a two-way street, the way you talk and listen to your child can influence how well your child listens and responds. It’s important to listen carefully, make eye contact, and avoid multitasking while you talk. Be sure to ask questions that go beyond “yes” or “no” answers.
These early years of schooling are an important time for parents to be informed and supportive about their child’s education and to set the stage for children to develop and grow as young learners.
©Rucha Sudhir Khot
This article was written in May 2018 during the sixth month of my pregnancy when I started doing my Bachelors in Education.
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