Although it may seem that children are at school most of the time, they are often at home even more hours each day then they are away. And you as a parent or caregiver can do many things to help them be more successful students. For example,
- Make sure your child has breakfast at home or at school. It is the most important meal of the day and many studies have demonstrated that breakfast eaters are better learners. Be a positive role model; eat with your child whenever possible. You will have a better, more productive morning as well.
- Read to your child; let your child read to you, and model reading as a desirable use of leisure time. Good readers are better prepared to learn at all grade levels.
- Ask your child questions about the school day and really focus on the answers. You will get more information and have a more satisfactory conversation if your questions are about a specific class or activity. Instead of “What happened at school today?” ask “What do you do in science class? Or “What story did you read?”
- Encourage good work habits. Provide your child with necessary materials and supplies, a place to complete their homework, and the time to get it done. Some students may need your support and even assistance at times. Help is often needed in planning for the completion of projects and other long-term assignments.
- Let your child know that you believe learning is important. Spend time looking at the work brought home and post special things on the refrigerator or a bulletin board. You could provide a folder or box for keeping the most prized papers.
- Try to limit television, especially during the week. An hour or two a day should be plenty. Help your child select programs that provide opportunities for learning.
- Help your child be organized about lunches, assignment, library books, permission slips and other items that go back and forth to school by keeping everything in a special spot so it is easy to find. It’s especially helpful to set out everything before bedtime, even the next day’s clothing. In so doing the morning will be much less hectic. And, help clean out that backpack at least once a week!
- Encourage your child to get enough sleep. Many students and even adults are chronically sleep deprived. Younger children may need at least eleven hours and even older students should try to get eight hours each night.
- Keep the lines of communication open between your home and your child’s school and teachers. That way, any concerns can be promptly addressed.
- Provide time for physical activity each day. It will help your child be healthier and happier. Try a family walk before or after supper, bike rides, tag, dodge ball, badminton or another favorite. It’s good for you too!
These suggestions should help you and your families have a positive start to this school year. If you would like some further suggestions and examples, check out this web-site: www.ed.gov/parents. For suggestions for breakfast and other family meals try www.mealsmatter.org/.