Having kids is awesome, but sometimes the admin around it can be quite daunting. This is especially true of school and the millions of things that they manage to add to your To Do list every week. The thing is, we are all really busy and being a time-strapped parent is extremely common nowadays. So how can we give our kids the support they need at school? Here are some top tips from the experts.
1. According to Sara Meaker, DORE Schools Liaison Manager and former teacher, suggests you set up small and achievable tasks.
She says that parents who work long hours may not have time to come to evening events at the school, however, they can spare half an hour each week to read with their child or help them with their homework. Keep a log of this to remind you how you are playing a valuable role in your child’s education.
2. Create a learning environment in your home
Montessori schools offer up plenty of advice on how to do just this. You don’t need to spend money on fancy equipment or tools, just make sure that your children have a quiet, distraction-free zone where they can concentrate on their homework easily. Put their study space far away from things like TVs or toys, make sure it is clutter-free to encourage concentration, and allow them time to appreciate the environment and use it to explore their studies.
It is also a good idea to populate the area with things that kids can use to work with while they are studying. These include paints, pencils, stationary, paper, notebooks and art materials.
3. Shower them with love
Telling your kids that they are amazing and awesome is one way of building their confidence, but it isn’t the best way. Instead, take the time to look at their homework and the work they have done, talk about it with them in a way that shows you are interested, and encourage them to keep on practising so they can achieve greatness.
Many learning experts have said that telling your kids they are “perfect” or “amazing” can actually put pressure on them. It can make them feel like they will let you down if they ever do things wrong or don’t deliver work as good the next time. Instead say things like, “You really tried hard, well done” or “With practise you can soon be great”.
Sue Meaker suggests that a good way to keep your child’s behaviour consistent between school and home is to ensure that there is continuity. This can be achieved by sharing learning tools and establishing routines which will be the same at both home and school.
The schools that implemented the DORE programme used a physical exercise programme for people with learning difficulties and encouraged people to schedule the exercises at the same time and in the same room every day. If parents shared the routine and set a time and location at home for the exercises, the child was more likely to behave in the same way as they did at school.
Continuity between home and school creates a much more stable environment for the child and this can improve behaviour and learning outcomes.
5. Read and help read
Reading is one of the greatest things you can offer your children. Start reading to them from when they are small, let them read to you, encourage them to hold, touch and smell books, and listen when they talk about the books they love.
Read to your child as often as you can and give them access to books throughout their life. Not only will they develop a thirst for the adventures of the printed page, but they will read books that teach them about life and living.
6. Open the lines of communication
A teacher’s job is to teach so make it easy for your teacher to get in touch with you and keep you informed as to what they are doing with your child. In this way, Sue Meaker says, parents can be comfortable knowing that they are being kept in the loop without feeling like they have to chase or push for updates. And it will take a lot of the pressure off too!