5 Tips for Parents to Improve your Child’s Learning

15 February, 2016 MARIANNE MULLALLY – 5 Tips for Parents to Improve your Child’s Learning

It goes without saying, parents are always the #1 supporter of their child. AND those same parents are also their child’s #1 influence when it comes to education. When parents are engaged in their child’s education research shows that the child is far more likely to succeed both academically and socially. In fact research also shows that despite the background, if they have an actively involved parent they are more likely to:
A) Get higher marks in tests
B) Attend school regularly
C) Have better social skills and behaviour
D) Go on to higher level study after school.

So what are the tips for parents to improve your child’s learning?

5 Tips for Parents to Improve your Child’s Learning

No. 1 – Have hopes and dreams for your child!

When you have a goal, you work towards it. Even if you do not achieve exactly what you set out to achieve, you still made the effort and achieved something. A child should be able to have hopes and dreams for themselves and you as the parent can facilitate this. If a parent holds aspirations for their child, funnily enough the child ends up doing better at school. So why is this? Well, if you show your child that you believe in them, and tell them that you believe in them and engorge them to succeed then it builds their confidence. If this is repeated over and over the child will start setting higher expectations and they they achieve better results. Remember though that sometimes a child’s goals can be ‘Bigger than Ben Hur’ – but this should be no obstacle to positive encouragement. Just know that you have to be their to teach them about humility too.

HOW TO DO IT – Talk to your child everyday about what they learnt at school. Be engaged with what they found interesting. If the answer is ‘nothing’ then perhaps find out what does inspire them when you talk occasionally about their dreams for the future. It’s easier then to steer them in the right direction.

No. 2 – Help your child to Enjoy Learning!

We know ourselves that if we don’t want to do something then we’re probably not going to do a very good job at it – that’s if we do it at all. So setting the example is critical. That’s not to say that homework sometimes isn’t boring or difficult… because it is. Kids pick up habits from their parents. Persistence, planning and organisation are all qualities that they share with you. So how do you get through the homework ailments? Well, setting out clear objectives at the start and sticking with ‘The Plan’ is key. Every day schedule a time for the kids to do their homework, and develop this into a daily routine. Start off helping them get through the work (don’t do it for them) and then as they build in confidence work your way back to the sidelines. Some kids will need a little more help than others and that’s fine. Just be patient and respectful of the fact that some topics may have been missed in the classroom. If you show interest in the work then they will mirror your attitude and remember – always praise/reward them for their good work.

HOW TO DO IT – Start a daily routine of homework and make sure to set a time limit on their work. It is no use them sitting at the table for hour staring at the page. It will only make them upset. Some kids take longer than others to get through the work, so if you set 15min – 30min depending on their age (high school will need more) and stick to it you should be ok. There will always be distractions at home, so try to keep them engaged in what they are doing or keep the distractions to a minimum. You will need to build their confidence, so when reviewing their work try not to tell them that it’s wrong, this will only demotivate them. Common signs of demotivation are; “I can’t remember”, “It’s too hard”, “It’s boring”.

No. 3 – Talk with your child about each others day!

Kids who talk openly with their parents about their day are far more likely to achieve better educational outcomes. This is not only limited to the classroom activities, think about  films or TV programs that they are interested in to start if you find they are reluctant to talk about school. Remember that they will model you, so if you talk about what happened in your day and workshop the problems and outcomes with them, then they will intern do the same when asked. It needs to be a two way street. The car is a great option here because you do not have to look directly at each other – this helps when dealing with problems they don’t want to talk about.

HOW TO DO IT – Start by talking about your day with your child in the car. They are then likely to reciprocate with their story. If the car is not an option, then at the dinner table is the best place for it. If you find they are really reluctant about talking then try asking “What was the worst part of your day?” This may trigger them into revealing what really is going on.

No. 4 – Read with your child!

It is proven that parents who read out loud regularly with their children help them develop and do better at school. Reading needs to be done past the age of 5!!! I am amazed when I see parents stop reading to their children when they start school – this is the most important time to be doing it! Reading helps them to enjoy stories. It also helps them focus on a task, while you’re reading they are putting the movie together in their head. If you make a mistake when reading and correct yourself that’s in fact a good thing. It shows that we are all human and mistakes are ok.

HOW TO DO IT – Take a book out and start reading to them. The book does not have to be a school reader level. In fact, something a little more developed would be better. This will introduce new words for them and broaden their vocabulary. It will also encourage them to keep reading with you to find out what happens next. If you find that your own reading skills are not so crash hot then consider using audio books and listen to them together.

No. 5 – Get involved at school or sport!

If you show that you have a positive attitude toward school then your child will come to reflect that. When you are engaged they are too. Being part of school activities also gives you a chance to find out what is going on in the classroom. If you are engaged with club sport it also shows the child that you will support them in whatever they enjoy in life.

HOW TO DO IT – Don’t make school a drop off and pick up zone. Talk with other parents and try to park a block always on some days and walk to the gate. If there are any BBQ days try and lend a hand and don’t be afraid of asking questions to teachers. Remember, you are modeling what should be happening in the classroom. If you are not afraid of the teacher than nor should your child be.

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