Read to Children
Help Kids Succeed in School
As an educator, I have always believed that a parent is a child's first, and most import teacher. Although elementary teachers will work hard to help your child, they will probably have a couple of dozen other students, too, each day. Parents are the only ones who are really capable of helping their child achieve their maximum elementary school success. After perusing the suggestions for elementary school success that I have found in a number of different school brochures and websites, I have discovered that most of them have a number of similar recommendations for parents of preschoolers and elementary school children.
Elementary School Success Starts even before they Start School!
By the time children begin kindergarten, there are already wide differences in how well prepared the children are. This does not mean that a child who is a little behind cannot catch up. In fact, they often do. However, it does mean that some children have to work harder than others to complete their work, and that some children will always be left behind. As a result, parents of preschoolers need to spend time playing with their children.
Notice that I said that parents of preschoolers need to play with their children, not work with them. There are many skills you can teach a preschooler that will make them feel like you are having fun with them. For example, teach your preschooler their colors by coloring with them! Name each color as your use it. Teach your child their numbers by counting with them. Many board games for preschoolers are ideal for helping children learn their numbers as they count out how many spaces to move. Buy magnetic letters for your refrigerator, and use them to spell out their name. Teach your preschooler the sound each letter makes, and help them make words with the letters. Get a cardboard clock, and teach your them to tell time. You may be shocked to know that I have worked with some high school students who can only tell time on a digital clock; they do not know what time it is by looking at the hands on a standard clock!
There are other fun learning activities that parents can do with their children. Teach them to bake cookies from scratch, and help them measure out the different ingredients. They will begin to learn the difference between a third and a half cup of an ingredient. Buy puzzles to put together with your child, especially puzzles that show the human body, different types of animals, or maps of your country or the world. Look up different locations on a globe, even if your globe is just printed on a large beach ball! Take your child to the zoo and to a science museum. These experiences will open up all kinds of new horizons for your child. If you engage in active, educational play with your preschooler for an hour or two every day, they will be well prepared for kindergarten.
Parenting Skills for Elementary School Success
Once your child has started school, parents should continue to actively engage with them in order to assist their school success. What are some types of family activities that will insure that your school age student does well?
First, keep your student on a regular routine, as much as possible. Young children feel more secure when they know what time they get up, go to school, come home from school, play, eat dinner, do their homework, and go to bed. Although these routines will sometimes be disrupted, the more you can manage to keep to a schedule, the more secure your child will feel.
Next, be enthusiastic about your student's school and their school work. Never dismiss their work as unimportant. Sometimes parents do this without meaning to. For example, you might plan a trip and decide to take your kids out of school for a few days because it is “just elementary school.” This makes the child begin to think that school is not that important to you. In addition, do not vocally criticize either the school or the school teacher in front of your children. You may think their teacher looks absolutely ridiculous in her rain gear, but do not say that to your children. Those are the kind of opinions you need to keep to yourself! You can also show your enthusiasm for your students’s school by volunteering when you can. This will give you an opportunity to get to know the teacher better, and to let your child know that you think school is important. It will also make it easier for you to talk about the school with your child, since you will know what is going on there.
Then, take the time to communicate with the teachers … in a respectful way. Let the teachers know if there is any major event occurring at home that could affect your child’s work, such as the death of a pet or family member, the birth of a new sibling, a move or other major life change. Keep your communications brief; an email will normally be sufficient.
After school, take time to listen to your child talk about their day. Most elementary school students will come home with lots of exciting things to tell you. Avoid putting them off, or telling them, “not now.” By the time you feel ready, they may have lost some of their enthusiasm. Celebrate their school successes at dinner. Shower them with praise. If something has not gone well, ask your little student what they think you could do to help them in the future … whether it is checking their backpack to make sure nothing is left at home, or reviewing spelling words with them so that they do better on their next test. Don’t dwell on their failures; use them as opportunities for both of you to learn what you can do better.
Finally, spend some time in the evening reading while your child does his homework. They will enjoy having you nearby, and you will be modeling the kind of behavior you want them to have. It is no fun for a child to be sent to their room to do homework while their parents are loudly laughing and chatting as they enjoy watching a TV show! Once homework is finished, stick to your regular bedtime routine. Making sure they get a good night’s sleep is very important to elementary school success.
If you are interested in reading more about family fun and safety for young children, you may be interested in the articles listed below:
Here's a Wonderful Preschool Workbook to Help You
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