Being a parent is not always easy. Knowing that your decisions can determine whether or not a child feels successful may create some additional stress in your already busy lives. Understand that you are not alone in your struggle; your child’s teacher is an excellent resource in recognizing his/her needs.
By Lorna and Nicole Kopacz
Teachers spend many hours observing your child in a community of peers. They witness how your child solves problems, communicates their needs, socializes with friends, and grows. Together, parents and teachers can create a stable and safe environment that will help mold your child into a confident and productive individual. From two elementary teachers’ perspectives, here are seven things that you can do to help you child succeed in school:
01Communicate with your child’s teacher. Find out their name, grading style, homework policy, phone number and/or email, and create a positive rapport early on in the year. According to education.com, it is important to “be a partner with [your child’s] teacher to support [their] learning”. If a teacher feels a connection with the parent, they are most likely going to feel a connection with that student. If you know that your child has some issues, it is better to explain to the teacher before they find out for themselves. That way, if problems do arise, the teacher feels comfortable approaching you in a more open fashion. When the teachers see that you are concerned with your child’s growth, they will match your effort.
02 Allow your child to make decisions. A child must feel as if he or she has some power in the way their life is going. According to one study, kids need the chance to “practice and discuss realistic decision making.” You can create a sense of ownership by letting them make some little decisions around the house. For example, what vegetable to eat for dinner, what game to play with the family, or what to name the new family dog. Gradually, give your child more responsibilities, so that they have the opportunity to weigh the possibilities and make wise decisions.
03 Keep sick children at home. If your child is not feeling well, it is important that you keep the child out of the classroom. The National Association of School Nurses suggests that by keeping sick children at home, “parents can help their child get better faster, as well as prevent the spread of illness to others.” Not only are you protecting your child, but also the health of the other students and teacher.
04 Have a stable routine for your child. Inside the classroom, a teacher has a particular routine, or daily plan that they follow – from how they enter the classroom in the morning, to the order in which they do their lessons, down to how the students leave. This gives the child a sense of security, and helps them maintain specific boundaries. They are prepped for routine. In order to support this, simply implement and stick to a plan at home. It does not need to be a rigid itinerary; it can be as simple as no homework before T.V., set mealtime routines or reading a book before bed. According to a study on family routines by Churchill and Stoneman, “The predictability associated with routinization in the family provides children and parents a stable influence in an otherwise unpredictable world.”
05 Make reading a priority. Introduce your child to new worlds by embracing a wide variety of genres. “Studies of infants and young children show that learning doesn’t begin the day children enter school for the first time… Learning begins the first months of life. And parents…are our children’s first teachers.” Create a life-long love of reading; this will undoubtedly produce positive effects in their education. When kids enjoy reading, they begin to learn effortlessly.
06 Give your child the opportunity to explore stress relief. Oftentimes, in the classroom, kids are subjected to a rigid structure that doesn’t allow them much down time. According to an article by Elizabeth Scott, on about.com, stress is now a top children’s health concern because, “[S]tressed children often become stressed adults…” While at home, allow your child to freely discover what truly re-centers them. It can be as simple as artwork, music, dancing, or getting lost in a book.
07 Promote healthy nutrition within your household. Cook dinners rather than eating out, provide healthy snacks during and after school, and buy organic food when possible. You can start with something simple, such as adding Omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. According to the American Heart Association, adding two or more servings of oily fish, like salmon, can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Also, allow your kids to help with the decision of menu choices. First of all, it’s fun! Secondly, when children are actively involved in their diet, they become more aware of what they are putting into their bodies. Use this awareness as a segue to explain the importance of good nutrition.
Following these few suggestions can help you take an active role in supporting the healthy growth of your child. Early intervention and supervision will help guide your child in a secure manner and may prove to be less work for you in the future.
Communicating with Your Child’s TEACHER
When Sickness Strikes: Know When to Keep
a Child Home From School
Adolescents and Decision Making
Correlates of Family Routines in
Head Start Families
Stress Relief for Kids