Rob and Linda have a son in third grade and daughter in fifth grade.
Their son has a hard time organizing his desk and getting the correct subject book out during class.
Their daughter has a hard time getting homework assignments back to the correct teacher and has received several missed assignment slips because she could not find assignments to turn in.
Rob and Linda want their children to learn how to be responsible for their own assignments and school work, but they also want them to succeed in school.
What are some ways Rob and Linda can help their children succeed in school without doing too much for them? There are two key ingredients to the recipe for success in school in which parents have tremendous influence:
- Building a successful attitude
- Teaching skills to be independent
Building a successful attitude – the first ingredient to the recipe for success in school
A successful school attitude is built on confidence. You want to treat your child’s mistakes as opportunities to learn and encourage your child to ask questions. Otherwise, children may lack confidence because they view asking questions or making mistakes as signs of weakness, rather than strengths that will help them learn more.
Some children feel insecure about trusting their own judgment and abilities because they depend too much on other people for direction and approval. If this is the case for your child, you want to avoid only saying, “Good job.” Instead, describe what made it “good” and point out any effort or improvement your child showed. This helps children know what to do next time and not need constant approval from others.
You also want to avoid paying your child for good grades or giving stickers for success. They usually discourage children or they might work in the short run, but won’t teach self-motivation.
Teaching skills to be independent – the second ingredient to the recipe for success in school:
To succeed in school, children need two crucial skills:
- Organizational skills to get their materials home and back to school
- Time management skills so they complete their work.
Every child needs to be at least somewhat organized to succeed in school. At the least, parents need to provide children with organizational supplies. If a child or parent is not naturally organized, it’s helpful to have a reliable system to follow.
Be sure your child’s “system” is simple. If it is complicated and hard to figure out, your child will only become frustrated. If your child is not picking up on one way to organize try another. Include your child in coming up with an organizational system that works and meets the needs of parents, teachers and child, but be easily adaptable to your child or teacher’s particular needs. Color-coded folders for each subject can assist your child quickly find subject materials at a glance. Color-coding can also help your child file assignments correctly, so they can be brought home and returned to school and handed in to the correct teacher. Pulling together such a system may seem like it will take a lot of searching, but there are products available that include pre-organized color-coded supplies to teach children time management, good study skills, and establish a consistent routine.
Time management skills
Being organized can help teach your child time management skills. For instance, putting a different colored dot on the binding of each subject book can help your child learn how to pull out a particular book out of the desk quicker.
Letting your child choose whether to always do homework immediately after school or after dinner gives your child time management planning skills. Talk with your child to see if having a time to unwind (play, listen to music, do a relaxing activity) before sitting again or if getting it done and out of the way is best.
Provide a specific uncluttered space for homework. Be available for questions and support, but don’t hover or do too much for your child. Instead of giving the answers, ask questions that help your child figure out the answer independently. This provides lifelong learning skills.
Success in school is like a three-legged stool in which the parent, teacher and student each play a vital role. The parent’s role in school success is that of a “supporting cast member.” If your efforts at home do not seem to be helping, take time to set up a parent teacher conference to share what you have been doing at home and brainstorm other ideas to try.
Keep these points in mind when it comes to helping your child have success in school. You can best support your child and teacher by:
- Being encouraging
- Helping your child get organized and
- Teaching your child to be independent, instead of doing too much and taking
Get the complimentary ebook to learn more specific details that will help your child have success in school and in life.
Jody Johnston Pawel, LSW, CFLE is the author of the award-winning book, The Parent’s Toolshop and president of Parent’s Toolshop Consulting, where she oversees an international network of Toolshop® trainers. She has 30 years experience as a top-rated speaker and parenting expert to the media worldwide, including serving as the Co-Producer and Parenting Expert for the Emmy-nominated Ident-a-Kid television series. She has interviewed many parenting experts on her Parents Tool Talk radio show and is a parenting expert columnist. She has produced almost 100 multimedia resources, which are available at her award-winning website, www.ParentsToolshop.com.
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