How Can You Help Your Child Do Better?
Every caring parent knows that it’s not just the child’s effort that counts when it comes to success at school – it’s the family’s effort, too. Apart from ensuring your child gets to school on time in the morning, after a good breakfast, and that they tackle their homework in the evening, there are other things you can do to help ensure your child achieves their full potential academically.
Are they paying attention? One of the most important things to teach your child is how to study effectively, and the importance of paying attention in class. If your child is having problems paying attention, their teacher should make your aware of this either by direct contact (if a major concern) or through comments in their end of term report if they feel your child could do better.
A scholar of note. Effective note-taking during class is essential. Taking good notes not only helps with later revision, but also aids the learning process by focusing the mind on the lesson at hand. Young minds are much less apt to wander when they’re concentrating on making notes. It’s important to make sure notes are legible, so practicing handwriting at home is one way you can help here. This is also a good time to teach your child how to organise notes for each subject in a coherent fashion. Some studies suggest that tablet-based devices, such as the iPad, can help.
Planning for success
Organising a ‘do-able’ workload is important too. One valuable lesson you can teach your child is not to leave everything to the last moment. You can help by demonstrating the importance of using a calendar and To-Do lists to prioritise tasks.
Learn to learn. Breaking up tasks into manageable sections, using reminder phrases (mnemonics) and setting aside regular study periods are just a few examples of how to make learning easier so it fits seamlessly into home life. Of course, incentives such as a special day out or a gift for meeting study goals can work wonders, too.
Help is at hand. Some children fall behind at school because they’re afraid to ask for help. They may be afraid that other students will laugh at them, or they may just be too shy to tackle the problem. Make sure that your child knows that they can talk to you or their teacher about anything – in private, if necessary. Take an interest in what your child is doing at school and ask what they’re working on and what subjects they like or dislike. A good time to do this is when you’re helping with homework. That way, it’s easier to find out which subjects they find a challenge.
Happy at home, happy at school. A child who has problems at home will take them into school. Make sure arguments and domestic issues are resolved before bedtime. Good communication and effective but fair discipline is vital. You might not have much control over how your child behaves at school, but you do at home and your child will take behaviours learnt at home to school with them.
Encourage your child to eat well and get enough sleep. Too little sleep can have a massive effect on how well they function at school, so make sure they get the right amount of sleep for their age. Good eating habits and a balanced diet also help young minds soak up information, so remind your child to eat their five-a-day and drink plenty of water. Keep an eye on what’s on offer at lunchtime if your child uses the school canteen. Otherwise, provide a healthy lunch. Treats should be kept at home, perhaps as rewards for successful study.