Thursday, July 19, 2012

Back to School: Help Your Child Get A’s

Summer is about to end and the maddening rush to get your children back and ready for school is just around the corner.  For parents, it is a good idea to start and prepare yourself and your kids this early, from buying everything they need for school and getting them ready to plunge back into the routine of everyday school life. 

It’s also a good time to sit down with your child and give them a pep talk about their not-so-good grades last year (Don’t scold!  Be encouraging), or congratulate them for a job well done.  Here are a few tips on how to help them achieve better grades:

Establish a Study/Homework Routine

If you don’t have one, start a routine.  Begin from the time they come home from school, but don’t rush them to do their homework or study right away.  Allow them time to relax, have a light snack or spend time talking to them about school and what their day was like.  Once they’ve had some quiet and rest time, then you can coax them to do their homework or do a bit of studying.

A Place to Study

If they don’t like studying in their room and you don’t have a study at home, doing homework in the dining room may be your best solution.  But make sure it is not cluttered and is free from any distractions (no TV, games or loud radio on in the background - it's important to note that while some children may get distracted with music playing, studies have shown that quietly played classical music can actually stimulate the brain - just something to think about).  

Give them some space to do their homework/study.  But make sure they know that they can ask you or interrupt whatever you’re doing if they need help or have questions.  When they’re done, ask to see their work.  If there are mistakes, correct them gently without scolding. If all is perfect, congratulate them for a job well done.

Early Nights

Children should go to bed early during school nights and make sure they have everything ready for school, whether it’s their homework or clothes to wear the next day.  Bad nights may mean bad mornings: rushing up to get ready for school and leaving things behind, which may also mean, having a bad day at school and coming home really grumpy. Preparing the night before can help to ensure a smoother morning, and a better overall day.

Get to Know their Teachers

Build a relationship with your childrens' teachers.  But try not to over-do it by questioning every single bad mark your child gets.  Ask them about your child’s progress from time to time and only question if their grades drop alarmingly. (When your child receives a test or homework assignment back with several answers marked wrong, go over the questions and answers to help your child better understand the concepts. Sometimes, if they have missed a single concept, in math for example, it could throw off the entire test or homework assignment.) 

Be sure to attend parent teacher conferences and any "getting-to-know-you" introductory meetings or open houses at the beginning of and throughout the school year. When the teachers - and the school administration, in general - know that you are involved with your children, they will be more apt to reach out to you and let you know when problems occur. Bottom line: stay involved!

Encourage Learning

Always find an opportunity to encourage learning and love for books.  Do things with your children that will inspire them to have other interests as well.  As a parent you’ll have an idea what your children’s likes are, whether sports, arts or music. 

Do day trips to museums, art exhibits and plays.  Discuss things with your children and ask questions like - Did they enjoy the exhibit?  What did they find interesting or why did they find so-and-so interesting?  Don’t make the questions one-sided - tell them what you think, too!  (But try not to launch into a lecture, make it an adventurous day of educational fun!)

Remember, parenting is personal.  What may work for other parents may not work for you and your child.  It’s important to ALWAYS listen to what your child has to say, and watch for signs that things are not going so smoothly.  Don’t be a tiger parent or a helicopter parent that hovers too much.  In other words, don’t over-do things.  

Guide your children, don’t guard them.  Be their personal cheerleader for whatever grades they earn, try hard to stick to the tips above, and before you know it, they’ll be raking in all the A’s in the world.

Author bio: Sarah Trueman is a mother of five who is has worked out a great back-to-school routine for her children. When she helps her children with reports or projects at school, she helps them use  Not only does the site offer parents a tool to help their children avoid plagiarism, it also provides parents the opportunity to explain plagiarism to their children, and why plagiarism is a no-no.  

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