We all want what’s best for our children, and good advice is always welcomed. So I asked a few teachers from charter and public schools how we can better engage our children outside of school to help them in their education. Here are the top 10 recurring tips that I received.
1 Provide a routine for your child
Reserve visiting friends/family and shopping for the weekends. Do your best to provide a stable routine on school nights. This means setting specific times to eat, do homework, play, read, and bedtime. Children will do better at school if they have a routine at home.
2. Read with your child daily
Whether you read to them or they read to you, reading aloud is important and should be part of your daily routine. Reading will encourage your children to be more imaginative, and it will help broaden their vocabulary, which will allow them to express themselves with ease. And it doesn’t matter what they choose to read, it can be comic books, magazines, anything, as long as they read.
3. Ask them open-ended questions about their school day
Show your interest in them and build up their self esteem by asking questions about their day and really listening to them. Questions like, “What did you do in the art center today?” or “What kind of games did you play today?” Encourage them to tell you about their school day.
4. Lead by example
If you show an interest in learning, your children will follow your lead. Ask lots of questions and find out the answers to the things you don’t know, read and speak about current events and get your children involved. Your enthusiasm for continual learning will pass on to them.
5. Teach them manners
Manners need to be introduced early on and with lots of patience. Teach your children about social expectations and help them understand that manners are a form of having respect for themselves and for others. Words like thank you and please go a long way.
6. Teach them Math
Math is all around us, encourage your child to count different things such as fruit, marbles, red cars, anything. Make it fun and light for them, and they’ll be sharpening their math skills without even knowing it. A great way is to incorporate money, teach them the value of coins and bills, and then count away.
7. Make sure they eat breakfast
Breakfast is extremely important. Children will not perform well in school if they skip breakfast and are hungry. They won’t be able to focus, they might not capture what is being taught that day, and their behavior can suffer greatly. It’s just not a good situation for any child to be placed in. Skipping breakfast is setting them up to fail. Make sure they have breakfast.
8. Provide different learning experiences
Take your children to new places to strike up new conversations and learn about different things. There are a lot of resources that are free and offer great learning experiences. Some examples are museums, libraries, parks, colleges, or walks around the neighborhood or beach. Encourage your children to explore, ask questions, and have fun.
9. Play with them
Play time is important because of the interaction it allows you to share with your children. Your presence is golden to them and we need to be mindful of the huge impact we have on our little ones during these times. Things like playing with board games and puzzles are a fun way to boost their critical thinking skills.
10. Let them be independent
Allow them to figure out their own problems, give them light chores to establish a sense of responsibility, and don’t baby talk but encourage them to speak in complete sentences. Also, give them the confidence and opportunity to try certain things for themselves. Their independence and self esteem will thank you.
Today, I have a better understanding on how crucial time is and how important the little things you do with your children are. In raising my 18 year old and now my 23 month old, I notice the benefits and disadvantages my daughter had because of things I did or didn’t do. So, I can affirm to how important and beneficial these tips are. If we want our children to succeed in school, we as parents have to do all we can to help them outside of school. It’s a team effort, and we’ll all reap the rewards when our children are happy, confident, and thriving in school. A very special thank you goes out to the wonderful teachers who took time out of their busy schedule to give us these great tips, we appreciate you and the work you do for our children, tremendously.
Monica Luna Gonzalez
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