5 ways parents can make school days into cool days :)
Would you like to know how you can help your child
more motivated at school?
For teachers and schools to be able to do the best job possible with students, partnering with parents and caregivers is ideal.
You are the parents, the first educators of their children. As such, you often hold the key to many issues that may arise for your child at school. In addition, when you and your child’s school are singing from the same hymn book, your child will achieve greater results socially, emotionally and academically.
Here are 5 ways you can help your child be more successful at school:
1. Communicate with the teacher. Having open lines of communication with the teacher can help your child at school by letting him know that you are all on the same plane, that you support the school in doing the best for your child and when there is an issue such as behaviour issues or your child being unhappy at school the teacher will let you know sooner rather than later.
Being informed of any potential problems at the early stage can help to prevent them escalating. Teachers are people too and when there is a positive relationship with parents, it is easier for them to broach more uncomfortable situations.
2. Spend time with them reading, cooking and playing games. As well as enhancing your relationship, your children will see reading as a pleasurable activity and encourage them to be interested. Seeing parents or caregivers reading for pleasure has a very positive effect on their motivation to learn to read and to improve their reading. And don’t think that just because they can read that you can stop reading to them! Spending time together reading a book that you both enjoy means that you will have more in common, can share the fun of the book and then discuss the characters and plot. Seeing a male role model reading for pleasure, is particularly helpful for boys who struggle with reading.
When you cook with children, you are employing maths concepts, learning about the environment and contributing to the family, as well as giving them useful life skills.
Playing games that they are interested in, even if it is computer games, may give you the opportunity to talk about what is going on for them in a non-confrontational way.
Kids are especially vulnerable during times of change and transition e.g. when moving from primary to high school or to university. Playing games provides time and space for them to confide in you about their worries, as well as being a fun time.
You may even be able to teach them some of the old-school games that you like to play. Have a games night you will all enjoy perhaps with another family. Get out all the games: Monopoly, Scattegories, Pictionary, Family Feud!!
3. Have screen free times. We can all be slaves to our phones, laptops, televisions or computers so having some screen free time is good for everyone’s wellbeing. When you are separated from each other by screen time, it makes conversations with your children and between your children difficult. Make an agreement that you will have time after school or after dinner, when screens are all off and make sure that you lead by example (no matter who is on Facebook).
4. Have dinner together. You have probably seen the ad on television where the dad is worrying about an issue that sounds pretty challenging. It turns out that his family have decided to have dinner together without phones- they have to talk to each other.
Incorporating this ritual into your day, not only gives you time together, it also teaches social norms of taking turns in a conversation, listening to each other, and sets the ground rules for how to eat in a restaurant. This will help them at school because they are learning valuable skills about how to get along with others, how to work with others and how to listen when others are speaking.
5. Listen. Provide opportunities for your child to talk to you. Give them time to chat and let you know how things are going for them. Some kids need more time and space for them to feel comfortable telling you about any problems they may have, and resist the urge to provide solutions straight away.
Don’t be a helicopter parent. Encourage your child to problem solve and think of ways to deal with the issue themselves. If they are dealing with a problem at school, check in with them after they try their solution to see how things went. Letting your child know that you trust them to work things out for themselves will increase their confidence and self-belief and encourage them to keep trying when things go wrong.
Above all, be kind to yourself and don’t expect to do everything right all the time! Kids are much more resilient than we think, and as my psychologist friend told me once when I felt that I had done everything wrong as a parent:
‘As long as you do the right thing 40% of the time, they’ll be fine!’