We’re past the first autumn weeks of school and into the darker days of winter. With Parent-Teacher interviews behind us, parents are naturally wondering, “How can we help our kids focus and succeed in school in this difficult season?” The People for Education have done a broad review of research on student success, and have come up with four main steps a parent/caregiver can take:
Have high (moderately) expectations for your child.
That means letting them know that working hard is worth it and will bring success. Let them know that your family values them doing well in school.
Ask them to review their school day with you. The dinner table is a great place to do this, but so is the car, where they can talk to the back of your head and feel more comfortable broaching difficult subjects.
Ask specific questions to get them going. “What’s the best/worst part of your day?”, “What was it like to do……” Give them a child-appropriate example from your day to model good conversation.
Encourage planning and self advocacy. Help them to chunk down activities into doable parts and to ask for help when they need it. “What do you think you could try next time to get that project done on time?”
Read together. Oddly enough, reading to your child increases the chance of them being a good reader. Read magazines, maps, comics, picture books, non-fiction, newspapers. To get help finding better read-aloud books, try anthologies such as the bestselling, fact-driven “Read-Aloud Handbook”, by Jim Trelease.