WHAT CAN PARENTS DO TO HELP THEIR CHILDREN SUCCEED WITH THEIR LEARNING
Parents often ask what they can do to help their children succeed.
Children learn so much before they start attending school. The experiences and stimulation parents (and caregivers) provide for their children are an important foundation for learning, for now and the future. When your children begin school, teachers become co-educators – the parents’ role does not diminish.
Here are a few important suggestions (in no particular order)
- TALK with your child. Let your child help you with everyday things. Take time to discuss things, answer questions and explain what you are doing and why you are doing it. This will make him/her feel valued, will develop lines of communication (which will be especially important during teenage years) and will extend his/her knowledge and vocabulary.
- LISTEN to your child. Children must have many opportunities to express themselves, their thoughts and their feelings. The more a child talks the better she/he is likely to read and write. Give your child your attention when she/he is talking to you. Let your child know what she/he has to say is valued.
- GIVE YOUR CHILD RESPONSIBILITIES which she/he is capable of taking. This allows her/him to earn recognition and to get real satisfaction from accomplishments. It also teaches your child to be a responsible member of the family.
- READ regularly to your child and let your child see you reading. Have lots of books, magazines, newspapers etc around the house. Teach your child to take care of books. Buy books for your child or borrow from a library. This builds an appreciation of books and reading.
- JOIN the public library. Don’t tell her/him what books to select. Your child may select a book you consider too hard or too easy. She/he may select a favourite book over and over again. Let this be her/his choice.
- BUY GAMES AND PUZZLES for your child. Let him/her solve them. Play suitable, age related games with your child. If the game is one of chance (eg Snakes and Ladders) play it properly. Don’t always let your child win.
- TAKE your child on trips to excite his/her curiosity and interest in the world. Point out interesting things, introduce new words and meaning of words. (eg museums, parks, beaches, train rides, bus rides, boat trips, the zoo, art galleries, botanical gardens, aquariums, department stores, science shows, walks, the circus.) Children learn by seeing and doing.
- KEEP YOUR CHILD WELL RESTED. Children work hard at school and need adequate sleep. A child who has stayed up late shows the effect next day in his/her school work (and probably behaviour).
- SET ASIDE A REGULAR TIME FOR HOMEWORK. Help develop the habit of daily attention to homework routines.
- PROVIDE YOUR CHILD WITH LOTS OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY.
It is important for your child to be physically active. It is desirable for children to (for instance) be able to climb, skip, go down a slide, ride a bike, hit a ball, catch, kick a ball, hop, swim, balance on one foot and then the other, balance across a low beam and jump, to the best of their development and ability.
- ACCEPT your child as he/she is. Don’t compare him/her with siblings. Encourage him/her to improve as much as he/she can. Try and have some quality time occasionally, when you are with that child only, and he/she is the centre of your attention.
- SHOW A REAL INTEREST IN SCHOOL AND YOUR CHILD’S ACTIVITIES. The parents’ attitude is usually the child’s. An interested and relaxed parent has a positive effect on the child.
- ACCEPT and give liberal PRAISE for your child’s genuine efforts. Your child needs to have good self esteem to reach her/his full potential.
- LET YOUR CHILD KNOW YOU LOVE HIM/HER
Your child will feel more secure, happy and have a higher self esteem if she/ he has a consistently loving, caring and supportive environment.