Parents are often appalled at the reports from their children’s teachers about their children’s behavior in class. What is it that makes our children turn into different people once they’re away from home? Is it the pressure to perform in front of the other students? Is it anxiety about their academic abilities?
While these factors may play a small role, the main reasons behind poor performance at school begin at home and can often be prevented. Our children’s success in school is extremely important to their futures. It’s the parent’s responsibility to give their children an advantage.
The following steps will help you better prepare your children for school and give them the best chance to shine.
Healthy is Happy
A healthy kid is a happy kid. Our children need proper nutrition, adequate sleep, and exercise to be at their best. When they feel their best, they perform at their best. Make sure your child eats breakfast every morning. Sugary cereals won’t provide the same results as a well-balanced, healthy breakfast. They should be practicing healthy eating habits all day. Give them a standard bedtime that allows for plenty of sleep. Also, encourage physical activity. This will not only keep them healthy, but it will also help them fall asleep at their bedtime.
Organization and Structure
Children need structure. Create a routine and stick to it. If your kids normally do their homework while you’re cooking dinner, don’t let them skip it. If they are supposed to be dressed and ready for school by the time you’re finished with breakfast, don’t let them slack off. Enforcing a schedule is the single most important thing you can do to build organizational tendencies in your child’s life. Provide them with a clean, designated area to do homework every night. Also, designate a spot for all of their school gear. The morning rush can be hectic. Don’t start their day off by frantically searching the house for their lunch bag, making them late for school.
Learning Doesn’t Stop
Just because your child is in school does not mean that you don’t have to teach them. You should read with your child often. Not only will this encourage your child to become an avid reader, but it will enrich his or her mind as well. Also, take every chance you can to teach your children. You can turn everyday experiences into learning opportunities. Take your child shopping with you and have them use their math skills to help you find the best deals.
Encourage, Expect, Reward
When your child has a big test, pump them up for the big day. Help them study and encourage them to be excited about acing the test. At the same time, let it be known that they are expected to succeed (although try not to overdo it—your children should know that your loving them isn’t contingent on their performance at school). But, while you shouldn’t blow a gasket every time they get less than an A, they should know that they are expected to perform well. Reward their accomplishments. Take them to the library or to the park when they do well on a test. Let them choose what’s for supper or what movie to watch on family movie night.
While schools are expected to teach our children and mold them into intelligent adults, the real job is up to the parents. Not only do you need to prepare them for school, but it’s important that you take an active role in your child’s education. Show them how important it is; don’t just tell them. Get involved, give them an excellent start to the day, and provide an organized, balanced lifestyle—your child will shine in school!