Keep Up the Good Work!

It's never too late in the school year to instill good habits. Your kids deserve success!

By FamilyTime


Hard to believe the our children have been in school for four or five months. Regardless of how they are doing, it's never too late to make the most of the academic year and help kids excel. Experts offer lots of good advice, from how to decipher your child’s learning style to how to help him become a generous friend.

Many of these ideas are helpful, but they also can put a busy parent into sensory overdrive. What should I focus on? How can I best help my children succeed? How can I find time to help?

How To Succeed

All families have their own issues and all children learn in their own way, but there are some universal behaviors that seem to offer the most benefit to the most students. Here are five standouts:

One: Encourage reading. This is the best thing you can do to insure your kids do well in school. Every academic subject involves reading and being proficient—or, better, excelling—at it makes learning easier and more fluent.

Reading is also pleasurable and the best tool for life-long learning. Read to your kids, make sure they read on their own, and read yourself. Talk about what you learn and what your kids learn. Fill the house with books and magazines, or download them, if that’s your family’s preference.

Two: Get to know your children’s teachers. Don’t monopolize their time when you stop by the classroom for a mundane reason, but let them know you are interested in your child’s progress and want to help in any way you can. Most teachers communicate via email, which makes it easy to keep in touch.

Save general concerns and questions for the teacher-parent conferences, but don’t hesitate to contact a teacher about a specific issue or problem. And, if possible, volunteer at the school, which is another good way to show your children that you, too, are part of the institution that plays such a major role in their lives.

Three: Show your kids that you value education. An obvious way to do this is to ask questions about their studies and take an interest in their progress.

It’s also helpful if you and your kids talk about the purpose of education in general, and what you got out of it. Encourage learning outside school. As a family, visit museums, discuss local events, pursue hobbies and interests, look things up, challenge each other.

Four: Make sure your kids do their homework. As mundane as it may seem, teachers give homework for a reason. It’s a way to review and reinforce what their students are learning. It also teaches kids responsibility.

Set rules about homework (no internet or TV until it’s done, for example) and make sure your children have a calm and organized place to complete their assignments. This might be the kitchen table or it might be a desk in their bedroom, but wherever it is, they should have good light, the right supplies, and minimal distractions. Help them when they ask, check homework if you think it is important, but don't do it for them! This helps no one.

Five: Look for signs of stress. Like everyone, kids have bad days but if your child shows signs of ongoing stress, take action. Symptoms include irritability, headaches and stomachaches, disruptive sleep, impulsive behavior, loss of appetite, and lethargy. Your child could be the victim of a bully or his stress might be caused by something as simple as not being good at sports or being unable to answer classroom questions without feeling nervous.

Talking to your child and his teacher and providing ongoing support addresses most issues; others might need the services of a professional. It also helps to create a peaceful home environment. Make sure your youngster gets nutritious meals, goes to bed on time, and has opportunities for silly fun and time to chill. While your child should know you believe him capable of his schoolwork, he should not feel that your expectations are out of reach.

End the Year on a High Note!

Clearly, there are other things parents and students can do to insure success this year. Reinforce these five. Let your kids know how proud of them you are, how you value what they learn, and how much fun it is to conquer new subjects and activities.

The final months of the school year will be better than ever!