10 Tips for Aceing School
For children of all ages, going to school can be an enjoyable experience or an overwhelming occurrence. Whether your child is just starting or is far along in their pre-primary, junior or high school studies, helping them to navigate their educational journey is bound to be full of ups and downs.
These all depend on how organised and engaged your little one is — and you, the parents, are — with their schooling.
Here are some handy tips to ensure that you and your child will have an easier time at school:
- Enforce healthy habits
Maintaining your child’s physical and mental well-being starts at home; by doing this, it will give them the best chance to perform well academically at school. Organise and apply a routine at home that your child can stick to. For example, encourage them to exercise, limit the amount of time they spend watching TV or using the computer, and choose a suitable bedtime that will allow them to get plenty of sleep.
- Make new friends
At school, your child will be surrounded by other pupils around about their age. That can be daunting, and they might be scared at the thought of having to talk to someone who’s not part of their family. Create opportunities for your child to socialise with classmates outside the family by inviting other children to play, signing them on to extra-murals or organising a playgroup.
By making new friends, your child can learn the values of sharing, listening, playing and taking turns — not to mention their friends will make classes a little bit more tolerable.
- Get ready for school
Getting your little one into their uniforms and preparing their lunch boxes can be a tiresome business, so why not teach them to perform these tasks? You can help by letting them practise dressing — simply do the first part of each piece of clothing and then let the child complete the rest, gradually letting the child do more until they do it all themselves.
As for lunch box-packing, encourage your child to get involved by letting them choose from a selection of healthy foods that improve learning and concentration: vegetables, fresh fruit, brown or low GI bread, dairy, water, and a small sweet snack as a reward. Make sure that your child can also open and close their lunch box containers.
- Designate a working space
At school, your child’s sitting at their own desk or table where they can work and store their supplies and belongings. With all that elbow room and personal effects within reach, they’ll find it easier to complete their school tasks.
Try to replicate a similar environment at home — whether it’s at the dining room table, their own personal desk or in their favourite part of the house with plenty of stationery at hand, your child should be able to do their homework without much fuss.
- Create a staging area
Does your child fling their schoolbag on the floor, chuck their shoes and throw themselves onto the couch without taking off their blazer when they get home from school? If so, you need a “staging area” — a single place to put backpacks, jackets, shoes, lunch boxes and school projects each day. Find a suitable place in your house where your child can keep the items they need for school each day. This will improve their organisational skills, and it will alleviate your stress levels during the morning rush to get to school because you’ll know exactly where everything is.
- Lead by example
Homework is the worst, according to children. This mindset can lead your child to develop a lack of motivation to perform tasks ranging from menial to difficult. Take the lead by sitting down to pay bills or do other “homework” tasks while your kids do their schoolwork. Or try a new skill and discuss the experience with them.
By displaying a strong work ethic and continually seeking out learning opportunities for yourself, your child will soon adopt the same behaviour and apply it in their studies.
- Talk and listen
Interaction is key. For a few minutes, ask your child how they feel about their classes, teacher, classmates and school work. Discuss what they like and don’t like at school, and then give them the chance to express their feelings. Listen well, because this is the time when your child’s anxieties, excitements, or disappointments about each day could be revealed. This will provide you with the opportunity to offer words of support and encouragement, and will show your child that you’re genuinely interested in that aspect of their life.
- Don’t stop teaching them
Whether your child’s starting out at pre-school or they’re beginning their high school journey, your role as the parents means that you can’t leave all the teaching to the teachers.
Home education is a critical part of your child’s overall learning experience. Look for different ways to teach your child throughout the day. For example, if you’re cooking supper, use the time to pose maths and science-based questions such as “How many teaspoons of salt does the recipe require?” Be creative with your questions!
- Reading is fundamental
Reading books can open up whole new worlds and stimulate your child’s imagination. Additionally, they can become proficient readers and accumulate new knowledge with each text they read. Put aside some time each day to read stories together from fairy tales to nursery rhymes.
Go wild with the facial expressions and characterisations, and encourage your little one to do the same — it gets them involved with the story, holds their attention and makes reading all the more fun.
While you’re at it, point to the title of the story, the letters, words and pictures so they will know what it means. Also ask them open-ended questions such as “What do you think will happen next?” You might be surprised at their answers!
- Expect success
No matter what, support your child’s efforts by expecting them to succeed. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to be the best student (that’s too much pressure); rather, let them know that you want them to do their best so that they can feel proud of their accomplishments. Make this expectation known at all times — that way, your child will have a great chance to excel at school and beyond.
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