When your child is about to head to school, it’s nervewracking for any parent. Whether it’s their first day of kindergarten or fifth grade, going back to school presents new opportunities. They’ll get to make friends, learn new material and enjoy a new routine. Then there are the challenges that come with school, which are different for every kid.
Learning is more complicated than making friends for some children, whereas others have the opposite problem. Your child may suffer from separation anxiety for the first few weeks. They’ll deal with their own challenges as they come, but you can help them out.
Read about these eight tips that will help your child learn this year. As they adjust to the new curriculum and more rigorous course material, you’ll be by their side to help them every step of the way.
1. Give Your Encouragement
Kids look up to their parents with awe and love, even if they would rather you not withhold that second scoop of ice cream at night. What you say and do around them has a significant impact on their development, which is why you should always give them your encouragement when it comes to school.
Cheer them on when they learn new things and do something special when they pass a hard test with flying colors. Your recognition will mean more than any grade or sticker on their homework and give them the drive to keep up their hard work.
2. Do Homework Together
It’s discouraging to feel alone, especially when you’re struggling. Working on homework away from their teacher is stressful, so help your child learn by doing homework together. The key is to find the balance between sitting back and doing the work for them. Help when they ask for it, but encourage them to put the pieces together to figure out each problem on their own.
Also read: 10 Toddler Milestones You Should Celebrate
3. Read Every Day
No matter how old your child is, they need to read every day. A Cincinnati Children’s Hospital study found that the regions of the brain that understand new concepts and form memories develop better at an early age if parents read to their kids daily. Give your child fun books and read each one out loud so they enjoy a special time with you and learn more easily in school.
4. Give Them Control
It’s no fun for kids to sit in a classroom all day when they have boundless energy. They don’t understand why they have to learn the course material and may fight back because they feel stuck.
When they’re at home with you, give them control over their education. Let them choose the subject of their upcoming project. Give them a list of books to pick from or decide which homework assignment to start with first. The tiny bit of control may help make learning fun for more independent kids.
5. Try Social Skills Activities
Some students can’t thrive in a traditional classroom environment. Your child may require more social-emotional development if they need special education.
If that’s the case with your child, consider trying social skills activities at home with printable courses and games. You’ll teach about conversation skills, situational awareness, play and empathy without changing schools. Once your child gets into a routine focused on these skills, they’ll perform better in school and enjoy going to class.
Also read: The Value of Playing with Your Children
6. Introduce Learning Styles
Sometimes kids struggle in school because of how their teacher presents information. Teachers have to instruct a roomful of kids, so it’s not always possible to adjust to what every kid needs.
It’s much easier to do at home. Talk with your child about visual, auditory and physical learning styles. Imagine they’re memorizing a multiplication table. Seeing two times two on a flashcard or hearing the problem repeated out loud might stick in their memory. They could also require physical learning. Use blocks or dolls to demonstrate homework lessons so the physical objects interact with their senses and help them remember what they need to learn.
7. Play Educational Games
The daily routine of going to school, working on assignments and coming home to work on more projects is boring. Your child may not be interested in their education because they need a change of pace.
When you feel like you’ve tried every trick in the book, think about playing educational games with them to spark their love of learning again. These games can be played at your kitchen table or on a video game console, depending on which ones you choose.
8. Reward Growth From Failure
Even if your kid is one of those students who earns straight A’s, they’ll come across failure at some point or another. Taking a mistake too hard can ruin school for them, so challenge them to learn when times get tough.
Ask them why they made their mistake and what they can do better next time, then reward them for thinking it through. This will set your child up to think differently about failures well into their adult life, which will help them in their relationships and career.
Communicate With Their Teacher
You know your child better than anyone else, but their teacher is the one who spends the most time with them during the day. Ask them how they teach, what their lesson plan entails and where your kid seems to struggle the most. They’ll pinpoint where you can use tips like these to help your child experience more academic success.