By Holly McElwee
My years in the classroom have given me valuable insight about how to help students succeed in the classroom and in life. So, when parents ask the age-old question, “What can we do at home to help our child succeed?” I usually respond with one or more of the following strategies.
1. Teach Manners. Students who come to school with a solid set of manners are a step ahead of their peers. Plus, it means that teachers don’t need to use instructional time to teach the basic tenets of good behavior. Manners should definitely be taught at home and then reinforced at school.
2. Get enough sleep. Sleepy children aren’t successful during the school day. Pick a bedtime and stick with it no matter how much kids want to stay up late. Not only does this ensure your kids get an adequate amount of sleep, it gives mom and dad some quiet time in the evenings.
3. Make school a priority. It’s easy to get swept up in a wave of extra curriculars every night. However, keep homework and school-related work at the top of the priority list. It’s the child’s responsibility to keep track of homework and to get it completed with minimal assistance from parents. If grades start to slip, then cut back on the extra-curricular activities. Learning should always come first.
4. Eat dinner as a family. This may not seem to have anything to do with school success, but it’s a valuable venue for teaching manners and the art of conversation. Plus, this gives the family time to talk about the day and to share information. It’s a time where kids and parents have each others’ undivided attention.
5. Limit screen time. Only allow screen time, such as TV, video games, or computers, after all homework and chores are completed. Even then, keep it short and monitor the content for age appropriateness.
6. Encourage exercise. One hour of exercise is recommended every day for kids. Be sure to get kids outside and moving each evening, especially if they’ve been sitting most of the day.
7. Get organized. Parents who teach kids to be organized at home have children who are also organized at school. This is vital as kids get older and are expected to keep their own lockers and desks neat and tidy. Teach kids organization strategies and skills that can be used in variety of situations, home and school alike.
8. Plan ahead. Along with organization, teach kids how to use a calendar and planner. Get them used to planning ahead whether it’s with homework, sports practices, music lessons, or family events. Teach them the routine of picking out clothes the night before and getting book bags packed before bedtime.
These eight items might seem inconsequential, but when routinely practiced over a long period of time, they set good habits for the future. All of these steps poise kids for a successful school career whether they’re in kindergarten or college.
Read more at www.travelingteacheronline.com .