Your child’s success in school is dependent upon a wide variety of factors. For example, the curriculum at your child’s school, your child’s teacher, and access to quality resources are all critical components of your child’s success. But the factor that is most important for your child’s academic achievement is your involvement in their education.
A major barrier that many parents face is simply finding the time in their schedules to sit down with their children to talk about school, review work, and provide assistance when needed. It has become even more difficult in recent years as children have become so involved with technologies like mobile phones, tablets, and social media. To overcome these barriers, develop a daily schedule whereby your child has a specific time to attend to their schoolwork. The homework time may vary, but you should seek their input on when homework time will be. Whatever the time, be sure that it is consistent in order to help you and your child get into a routine and stick to it.
Some children can do their homework while curled up on the couch, yet others need a more formal space to work. Whatever your child’s preference, their workspace needs to be theirs and theirs alone during their homework time. The space should be quiet and without distractions. TVs should be off, phones should be on silent, and tablets or laptops should only be used for homework.
As with all activities with a child, there is a need for some rules. Simple rules can keep your child organized and provide the structure they need to complete their duties. When devising rules, they need to be short and easily understood by everyone in the family. Rules should be posted to remind all family members of the expectations. And when rules aren’t followed, reasonable consequences should be enforced.
There’s no need to be tyrannical about homework, however. Simple and clear expectations are all that is needed. Specify when and where kids are to do homework. Outline your expectations for your child’s effort, and identify your role during homework time. But be sure that if these expectations aren’t followed that you can enforce the consequences. There is no point in devising rules if no one is going to follow them.
Some parents believe that they shouldn’t reward their children for doing something they should do anyway, and that’s okay. But some children require incentives to do their schoolwork because they find it boring and aren’t motivated by praise from their teacher or good grades. A simple incentive might be to offer a fun activity once all homework is done. It could be playing a game, going outside with friends, or having time to watch TV.
You can also utilize more elaborate incentive systems if your child has a habitual issue with completing work. These larger-scale schemes can encourage the completion of long assignments over several days or weeks. A popular incentive system is to use a token economy, in which children earn points, stars, or some other kind of token that they can utilize later to “purchase” a reward or privilege. Involving your child in the decision-making process, including what the rewards or privileges might be, is important for the success of a token economy.
Ensuring your child’s academic success is dependent in part on your expectations of their performance. Establishing high expectations does not mean demanding your child earns perfect scores on all their assignments. Instead, set high expectations and challenge your child to achieve beyond what they think they can achieve. Realistic expectations will depend on a wide variety of factors, including your child’s age, inherent abilities, and areas of interest.
Children acquire the ability for literacy long before they ever learn to read, so establishing a routine of reading to your child early is vital. Experts recommend that parents should read to children 30 minutes per day from infancy through childhood. Children develop the majority of their capacity for learning before the age of three, so reading to your child early and often can facilitate their learning potential.
Many people get nervous when a testing situation arises, and children are no exception. Your child needs to learn how to approach an exam with the most preparation possible. It means beginning to study well in advance rather than cramming the night before.
Another way you can help facilitate optimal test performance is to ensure your child gets a good night’s sleep the night before. Supplementing a good night’s sleep with a good breakfast the following day will give your child’s brain the energy it needs to perform at an optimal level.
Attendance at parent-teacher conferences is also critical to succeed in school, particularly if your child is struggling. Taking time to discuss specific issues, needs, and areas of improvement will help you and your child’s teacher take a cooperative approach to boost their academic success. But don’t rely on one or two conferences per year. Maintaining communication throughout the school year will help keep you up-to-date on any problems or issues before they become major obstacles to your child’s success.
Take proactive measures to ensure their success. This positive approach to education will help your child achieve their potential and promote long-term success.
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