No matter where a child may be on this long and winding thirteen-year (minimum) road, here are some tips parents can use to help their child succeed.
1. Get Organized
There are going to be lots of papers coming your way in the coming weeks. You’ve already registered your child for school, but be prepared for some important documents from both the school, and your child’s teacher. Policies, procedures, and all things a parent needs to be aware of in regards to day-to-day operations and legalities for photo taking, work displays, and computer usage.
A lot of parents have a command center set up in their home, but honestly, you don’t need something so fancy. Just make sure your child has a dedicated spot to put their agenda and forms each day so that you can be on top of information, upcoming events, and due dates. Personally, I like to use a pouch big enough to hold all forms and the agenda in order to avoid things getting lost in the abyss of a backpack.
2.Establish a Routine
We all know kids thrive on routines, and it is no different when it comes to school. It is important for your child to know the expectation at the end of each school day. First things first, lunch bag comes out of the backpack along with agenda and all notes. Often times kids will like a snack when they get home, and this is a good opportunity to go through the agenda to see if there are any assignments to be completed at home. Younger grades will usually have spelling or sight words, and reading, while older grades will begin to bring home more complicated work.
An important thing to keep in mind is that regardless of if it is officially assigned or not, research has stated that it’s important for children to complete roughly 15 minutes of “homework” a day as it solidifies habits they will need in the years to come. Bonus, if it’s established as routine early on, it may be less of a struggle later on!
3. Avoid Over Scheduling
Kids work hard and receive a lot of stimulus during their school days. Although they may not say it, they’re tired, and appreciate the down time to run outside, play with their favourite toy, draw, read, or do whatever they want to do. Studies have shown a correlation between over scheduling and an increase in anxiety. While it’s great to give a child the opportunity to explore different avenues through extra curricular activities, limiting the amount that they do actually increases the specialness of the activity, but also allows them to put more thought into their choice.
4. Align Yourself With Your Child’s Teacher
Your closest ally is your child’s teacher. They are there to help your child succeed, and they are there to work with you. This doesn’t mean you need to be best friends, or agree 100% with everything they do, but you do need to maintain positive communication, and be receptive to strategies or advice they may bring forward. Remember that strategies that are specific to your child’s learning needs are supportive and never a judgment on you as a parent.
Also, it is important for your child to see you as being on the same team as their teacher as this will lower their anxiety, lower frustration, and will not undermine the teacher’s authority.
5. Ask The Right Questions
Asking “How was your day?” will rarely be answered with the answer you are looking for, and the more you press them, the more your child will view your curiosity as an interrogation. Asking more specific questions will lead you to more desired specific answers. For me, I find that asking “What was the most interesting part of your day?” or “If you could have changed one thing about your school day what would it be?” gives me a more accurate idea of a child’s day. Setting children up with more than a one-word answer also shows them that you are interested in their day, which will make them more likely to share.
Helping your child with their homework can be a frustrating thing for parents, but sometimes helping actually comes from resisting the urge to help. For example, when a child is stumbling through a word it is too easy to read it for them, or help with the sound. Success comes from stumbling, and it comes from allowing them the opportunity to get there on their own. Of course offer help if asked, and correct, or reread should it be required, but resist the urge to do it for them. Sure, it might take longer, but your child will also gain more from the experiencing.
Also, let go of frustration. The majority of work that gets sent home should be able to be completed by your child. If you see your child getting overwhelmed, or course step in and support; however, if there has been an honest effort, and you are at the point of complete frustration remember that it is okay to put it aside. Contact the teacher, tell them what happened, and ask for them to further explain or go over it with your child. As stated above, teachers and parents are a team.
7. Remember That This Is Not Your School
This one can be a tricky one to remember, especially if this is your first experience with the education system. To put it simply, times have changed. It is important to keep in mind that just because classrooms look different now than they did when you grew up doesn’t mean that learning isn’t taking place. Students are now being shown there is more than one way of doing things, there are less worksheets and more application. Center and project-based learning are regularly integrated into classrooms, and flex seating is becoming more prevalent. Your child is not only being taught the curriculum, but developing competencies that will help them in the workplace.
8. Recognize When Your Child Is Trying
Not all kids are “A” students, but that doesn’t mean their efforts shouldn’t be rewarded. Keep in mind every child develops at different rates, and just because they are unable to understand, or remember something, doesn’t mean they are not trying. Encourage improvements, recognize when effort is made, and praise the strides because they will be feeling discouraged, and they need your help to know that they will get there.
9. Be Positive
At the end of the day, children look to their parents for guidance. As a parent, you may feel anxious about your child starting a new school year, but they will be okay. Stay connected, establish routines and organization, maintain positive dialogues, support, and watch them blossom. Talk about school with excitement and positivity because children are your mirrors. Encourage them, and create a positive perspective as they walk their way through this long and winding journey!
Children’s Books For Starting School
Sam and the First Day of School by Dianne Blomberg
I am Absolutely Too Small for School by Lauren Child
Wemberly Worries by Kevin Henkes
When You Go To Kindergarten by James Howe
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
Andrea ArEsse is a teacher turned stay at home mom. Residing in Port Moody with her husband and daughter, Andrea is an avid DIYer and fills her days with arts and crafts, themed photo shoots, travel, and exploration. Women empowerment has become a big part of her life since having a daughter, and she has spent the last year writing a survival guide for new mothers that will be published in the coming months. Head over to the blog to check out her sassier side of motherhood. www.momknowssomethings.comTags: routines, school, teacher