We began this week’s discussion with routines, online safety, and gadgets. Today, I would like to provide a set of tools/activities that will easily improve academic skills. One of the biggest concerns parents have is that they are unable to find enough time each night to help with homework or study with their children in the traditional sense. Not to worry. If you are among these parents, you can still find ways to incorporate academic practices into your everyday routines.
Ways to fit academics into your everyday lives:
- Read everything out loud. Street signs, menus, numbers, everything. The more words young children hear, the better.
- Hold family conversations. A quick conversation can keep you up to date on what’s new with your child.
- Help with homework. This may be a tough one to fit in, so it doesn’t have to happen every night but be sure it happens as often as possible.
- Be involved at school. This is another tough one time-wise. Even once a semester helps. Make parent conferences, school plays, and parent days a priority.
- Set goals and expectations. Tell your kids what you expect of them. Never assume that they should “just know.” It is much easier to work towards a known goal.
- Encourage extracurricular activities. Everyone knows that sports, the arts, and music help academics tremendously. They also help with discipline and self-confidence.
- Take a break. Vacations and breaks during work times are great ways to fill up the tank for the next task. Don’t underestimate the importance of stopping, focusing on something else, and coming back to the task. As little as 10 minutes can do wonders for better focus and a better attitude.
- Cook together. This tactic has it all: reading labels, counting, measuring, and conversation. This doesn’t have to happen every night. Even once or twice a week will help.
- Maintain structure. Routines help eliminate guess-work and keep things moving smoothly. If kids know what to expect they are more comfortable and confident.
- Encourage organization. Help your child by teaching them organizational skills. Knowing where things are cuts down on frustrating and time-consuming searches.
- Play games. This is another all-around great tactic. Counting, reading, and acting out (charades) encourage quick thinking and sportsmanship.
- Allow your child to keep a journal. Lots of kids find it helpful to write or draw their thoughts. Kids need an outlet for their emotions, questions, and ideas just like adults.
- Stay consistent. Keeping routines and expectations consistent will cut down on fights and allow more time to have fun while learning.
- Enforce discipline. Natural consequences for our actions are some of the best lessons we can learn. Establish house and family rules early and stay consistent.
- Provide support. Sometimes things do not go as planned. Support from family is incredibly important for academic and lifelong success.
Many of you reading this blog are already fitting academics into your daily routines and lives. If it is time to change things up, try a new tactic, or fit academics into an area that you haven’t tried before, the key is to make academics fun for your child as well as yourself. It is wonderful to be involved with your kids’ learning and to share experiences with them in the process. As always, if you have further concerns regarding your child or family, please contact me directly.
Sites to check out:
Parental Involvement and Students’ Academic Achievement: A Meta-Analysis
7 Ways to Improve your Child’s School Performance
How Parents and Families can Help their Children do Better in School
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