As a parent, you no doubt want to ensure your child’s success in school. You want them to make friends, get good grades, and be happy. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of seven helpful ways that you can encourage your child to perform well in school and find contentment in doing it.
Throughout my time in elementary and middle school, as well as the year I spent as a preschool teacher, I’ve learned a lot about how to motivate and encourage kids to succeed. Keep reading to find out tips to make this school year successful for your child.
Follow These Simple Tips to make this School Year successful for your Child.
1. Encourage Children to Do Their Best
When I was in elementary school, the best advice my mom gave me was to do my best. If I got a bad grade on a test, she would ask me, “Did you do your best?” She was in effect asking me if I was paying attention in class, getting my homework done, studying for tests, and focusing on assignments. Even if I received an F, as long as I could honestly answer “I did my best,” then my mom was proud of me.
This is not to say parents should allow children to under-perform in school, but it’s important to know your child’s potential and simply be proud of them when they do their best. To illustrate, I was a straight B and C student before fourth grade, and my mom was always proud of me no matter my grades because I was performing as best as I could. She put me in tutoring and always pushed me to do more, but she never compared my progress to any other student.
When I reached fourth grade, however, something clicked and I was a straight-A student. She never got mad when I received anything lower, but she in effect taught me to have high expectations of myself. I wanted to succeed because I wanted to do my best.
Therefore, when you always encourage your child to do their best without criticizing them when their grades aren’t the best, you in effect are teaching them to set high standards for themselves. Don’t underestimate your child. They are capable of amazing things; so gently push them to perform the best they can, even if it isn’t as good as someone else. Remember that success to one person may not be the same for another.
2. Buy School Supplies Your Child is Excited About
Positivity encourages people to perform higher. If a person is excited about something, they will no doubt put more effort into it. To illustrate, if you buy your child a new game, a new bike, or a new toy, they no doubt get excited about it and want to play with it. In the same way, buying them school supplies that they are excited about will in effect get them excited about school.
This may sound simple, but it’s much easier to motivate children when they are prepared for something. Perhaps they want a notebook with their favorite character on it, a cool backpack, or a fun pen or pencil. These simple things will motivate your child to participate in class, take notes, and even get their homework done.
3. Set a Schedule and Stick to It
Children thrive on structure. Routine not only establishes a sense of security against the unknown, but it also teaches them self-discipline. Moreover, children can learn how to manage their time so they can succeed later in life.
A good schedule will help your child succeed in school because it ensures they get their homework done, have plenty of play-time, and are communicating with you about school. For example, immediately after school, your child is probably already tired of doing hours of schoolwork. Perhaps allow them a snack and thirty minutes of free time. Then, set time so they can get their homework done. After their homework, they can have more free time, eat dinner, or do whatever else needs to get done.
When you stick to a schedule, your child is more aware of the expectations you set and they are prepared for everything that needs to get done that day. It’s important to stick to a schedule so your child knows what to expect, but don’t be too rigid about it. If your child feels limited in his or her freedom, it may hinder whatever motivation he or she has for school.
4. Help Them With Homework… But Don’t Get Frustrated
Sometimes kids need help with their homework. When you help your child in subjects they might be struggling in, you are not only helping them to get good grades in school, but you are also teaching him or her to rely on you. If you can help them with their homework, they might come to you if they have other problems in school. For example, if they have a problem with their teacher or with another student, they might be more open to coming to you for advice.
Whether you are a working parent or a stay-at-home one, parenting can be stressful, especially at the end of a long day. However, if you get frustrated when you help them with homework, it could have adverse effects. First, it can make the assignment stressful for them. They can quickly become discouraged about the subject, as well as any future homework they get. Second, they might be less likely to ask you for homework help again. If their homework stresses you out, they won’t want to burden you with it and will either struggle through the assignment alone or forgo the assignment altogether.
Most importantly, the way you react to seemingly trivial problems your child has sets a pattern for how they will approach you with future problems. If you are easily frustrated by their homework, they might be reluctant to approach you with any other problems they might have.
Therefore, even if you are stressed and their homework seems difficult, stay calm. A calm demeanor will allow your child to keep the right perspective on school and will even encourage them to approach you with further problems. If you can’t figure out the homework, it’s okay. Google it or send a note to the teacher, explaining that neither of you could figure it out. At least you did your best, right?
5. Make Time for Fun
With so much stress revolving around your work and your child’s school, it’s vital that you make time to have fun. Studies show that time for play and creativity actually improve performance levels in school. Moreover, every child needs time to have fun. For example, could you work all day, every day with no break? Probably not. Children need time to be children.
Encourage them to play, make friends, and have fun. Try out different hobbies so they can find something they are good at and enjoy doing. When I was young, my mom put me in many classes: tap dancing, ballet, hip-hop, soccer, tumbling, art, piano, guitar, and more! Did I stick with any of it? No. To her chagrin, I became a writer. But she always supported me in my hobbies, which gave me plenty of opportunities to explore my interests and find things I enjoyed doing.
When children have a hobby, their performance in school improves. Give your child something to be excited about and encourage them to grow, and their school success will no doubt follow.
6. Find Study Tips That Work
As with homework, you also might help your child study for tests. However, a study method that works for one person might not work for someone else. Ask yourself, how does your child learn? Is he or she a visual learner? Do they learn best with pictures, songs, or simply reading? Find out how your child learns and develop strong study habits that work for them.
For example, could you make up a song about their study material to help them remember? Perhaps your child could color-code his or her notes? Or even use word association to remember facts?
When I was in school, I used a mixture of all these techniques. Often, I would color-code my notes to help me remember things, and then my mom and I would use word association and/or images for the things I couldn’t remember. For example, Memorize Academy helps people memorize the elements on the periodic table of elements using the techniques I mention.
In the lesson, Memorize Academy draws a fire hydrant to represent the first element hydrogen. Next, the fire hydrant is tied to and carried away by a balloon to represent helium, and so on. Using vivid imagery, these lessons help people memorize all 118 elements in a short period of time (I did it in eight hours as a sophomore in high school!).
In the end, you can make studying as fun as can be when you implement these tips. Additionally, your child will no doubt perform better in school because they will be able to better remember the subject matter.
7. Be Involved in the School
Last but not least, get involved in your child’s school. You don’t have to volunteer all your time to do this, either. Simply take the initiative to meet your child’s teachers and be aware of what’s going on at their school. The more aware you are of everything that goes on in your child’s school, the better your ability to help them.
For example, some children report that they don’t like their teachers. If you know their teacher well, you will be able to more accurately confirm or deny those claims and offer help so your child can deal with difficult teachers in better ways.
Start the School Year With Confidence!
In the end, a child’s success in school greatly depends on the kind of support they get at home. Therefore, if you follow these simple steps, not only will your child succeed in school, but you will also help them set strong goals for themselves as well as learn how to schedule their time in a way that drives success.
If your child is too young for school, consider enrolling them in a quality preschool, such as Brambleton Preschool. It’s important that your preschooler is left in safe hands who will teach them valuable lessons while allowing them the time to play and have fun.