Today's Tips for Parents
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A hand's-off approach puts the focus on learning
Sometimes parents help too much with their child's school projects. It can be really tempting. After all, you want your child to get good grades. But there is a better approach. Instead of thinking about grades, think about what your child can learn from doing the project himself. Ask his teacher about the best ways to support your child's efforts.
Saturday, November 3, 2018
Try activities that help growing brains practice paying attention
As your child goes through elementary school, her brain continues to develop. That means that with practice, she can increase her attention span. One way you can help her is by reading aloud every day. It also helps to play games or work on projects that require your child to sit still and listen carefully. You can also have her describe an event, such as a trip to the zoo, in as much detail as she can.
Friday, November 2, 2018
Exhibit your child's work in a special gallery
When you display your child's schoolwork and artwork, it builds his self-esteem. But there isn't always room on the refrigerator. One mom created a family gallery by installing a strip of corkboard along a hallway wall, low enough for her children to reach. Now the kids put their own work up for family viewing, and the displays change all year long!
Get crafty for creative fun
Art teaches many lessons, including cause and effect, problem-solving and self-expression. And it is creative fun! Help your child explore his artistic gifts by making some seasonal crafts together. To turn a brown paper lunch bag into a colorful turkey puppet, have your child draw a turkey's face on the bag's bottom. Then she can decorate half a paper plate like a turkey's tail. Glue the plate to the bag so it sticks up behind the face.
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Pumpkin math is a seasonal treat
Today is a great day to do some pumpkin math with your child! Get your child a pumpkin, and then have him: Estimate how much the pumpkin weighs. Weigh the pumpkin, and then add or subtract to see how much heavier or lighter it is than his estimate. Estimate, and then measure, how many inches the pumpkin is around (its circumference) at its widest point. Count its seeds by fives, 10's and 20's.
Tuesday, October 30, 2018Encourage reading, one chapter at a time
Get your child excited about the idea of reading by introducing her to the pleasures of chapter books. Find a book you think she will enjoy. It could be a classic or a new book recommended by the librarian. Have your child read (or you read to her) just one chapter a night. Talk about the story. Ask your child to predict what will happen next. If she enjoys the book, see if it has a sequel and read that one, too!
Monday, October 29, 2018Take action to stop bullying
Bullying can damage children physically and emotionally. It can also affect a victim's ability to do well in school. If your child is being picked on, talk to him about things he can do to stop it, such as ignoring the bully and walking away. Carefully monitor the situation, and if the bullying continues or escalates, take action: Talk to the school principal or counselor and work together to resolve the issue.
Open your child's backpack to get your child to open up
Talking with your child every day about school helps make it clear that school is important. But if she doesn't volunteer much about what happened, take a look at what came home in her backpack. Kids who won't respond to questions like, "How was school?" will often answer specific questions. For example, if your child has a map in her backpack, ask her how she used it in class and what she learned.
See the world on a visit to the library
Sometimes a pretend trip is just as fun as a real one. You and your child can "visit" China, England, Mexico or anywhere else…by way of the public library. Choose a country and ask each family member to gather information about it. Then plan a dinner of dishes from that country (check out a cookbook from the library, too) and discuss the interesting facts each of you has learned from your reading.
There's no limit to what your family can learn by volunteering
Children learn important lessons when families volunteer together. They learn about kindness. They see citizenship in action. They learn people are more alike than different. They learn about future careers. Children who volunteer regularly are also more likely to get better grades in school. So get your family volunteering. To start, look for a one-time project that lets kids do something real.
Hand out more than money on allowance day
Giving a child an allowance can help him learn responsibility and money management. You can make allowance day more special by putting the allowance in an envelope and including a note with words of praise. Thank your child for completing his homework and chores, and offer words of encouragement. Your child will look forward to getting your notes as much as his allowance.
Help your child earn the true rewards of learning
Successful learners are motivated more by their own curiosity than by any other reward. To promote this kind of "intrinsic motivation," allow your child some independence to explore the things she's learning about. Provide learning challenges she can be successful with. Then, when she completes a task, ask her to evaluate her own efforts. When you offer praise, compliment efforts more than accomplishments.
Your child has the power to make a difference
October 27 is Make a Difference Day. It's a day to help your child do something that will make a difference in your neighborhood, your community or even the nation, and boost his self-esteem at the same time. Help your child come up with a list of things he can do. Children often feel powerless. By helping your child take action, you'll prove to him that he can make a difference.
Create a routine to take the hassle out of homework
Homework isn't on most kids' lists of favorite things. But it doesn't have to be a hassle. To make homework time go more easily at your house, set a regular weekday homework time. If your child is irritable or tired, give her a healthy snack before she starts work. Hunger can be a big distraction. It may also help to give her 30 minutes to run around outside and blow off steam before settling down.
Designing a new game is a winning move
Kids love to play board games. And inventing a new one can spark your child's creativity and imagination. Cover an old or worn-out game board with white self-stick paper, then give your child some colored markers and ask her to draw a new game. Next, have her write a set of rules for her game. Then play! If you want to preserve the game, cover it with clear self-stick paper. It will last for years.
Highlight the process of making decisions
As kids grow older, they have to learn how to make good choices. Help your child learn by making him aware of the choices he already makes every day. Some decisions are trivial. Others are important. Assure your child that he can make responsible decisions. Talk to him about decisions you've made, such as buying a car or choosing a career, and what factors you considered while making them.
Emphasize the part that effort plays in success
You want your child to do her best in school. So it's important to let her know how high a value you place on effort. For instance, when your child shows you a high test score, instead of just saying "Hooray!" say "I know how hard you studied. I'm glad your hard work has paid off." When she finishes reading a book, you can say, "You made a real effort to finish that book. I'm proud of you."
A special shelf of healthy snacks teaches good food habits
Good nutrition is a key factor in school success. To help your child learn to make good food choices, create an "anytime" shelf in your refrigerator. Stock it with a selection of healthy foods such as carrot sticks, broccoli "trees," cheese, chunks of melon and raisins. Then allow your child to help himself from this shelf any time he is hungry. He'll like choosing, and you'll know he's always choosing well.
For better behavior, mix clear, consistent discipline with lots of love
Kids don't always behave as adults would like. You can improve your child's behavior by keeping these guidelines in mind: Stress what you want her to do, rather than what you don't want. Say what you mean, and stick to it. Use consequences that relate to your child's actions (if she can't get ready in the morning, she'll have to go to bed earlier). Praise her good behavior, and always show her your love.
Make the consequences clear at homework time
Your child's study habits affect his academic achievement. If getting him to settle down and complete homework is an everyday struggle, it may help to apply both positive and negative consequences. For example, you might say "When you have done all your homework this week, I will be glad to let you invite a friend for a sleepover. If you don't do your homework, you'll lose screen time this weekend."
Simple ways teachers say you can help your child learn
What do teachers wish that parents would do to help their students be successful in school? Simple things: Set firm standards. Read to your child. Attend parent-teacher conferences. Communicate often with the teachers, and give them lots of information about your child's interests, strengths and weaknesses. When you team up with the teachers, you improve your child's chance of school success.
Monday, October 1, 2018
Say 'Happy Birthday' to these symbols of freedom
This month, celebrate the anniversaries of a couple of famous American symbols with your child. On October 19, read the words to "The Star-Spangled Banner" together. The song, now the national anthem, was first performed publicly in 1814. On October 28, celebrate the Statue of Liberty's birthday (it was dedicated in 1886), by helping your child find out more about your family's origins.
Tuesday, October 2, 2018
How to treat a case of 'school-itis'
What should you do if your child complains of a headache or stomachache and says, "I don't want to go to school," and you know she isn't really sick? Ask her why she is reluctant to go to school (while continuing to get her ready). Acknowledge her feelings. Then, make it clear that you will help her deal with specific problems she's having at school, but that she must go today.
Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Before you meet with the teacher, talk to your child
Getting your child's perspective is an important way to prepare for a parent-teacher conference. Ask your child questions about how school is going, such as: "What do you like about your class this year?" "What are some of the most successful things you've done?" "What was the most difficult project for you so far?" He will know that his opinions count, and that you and the teacher are working together to help him learn.
Thursday, October 4, 2018
Keep your child wanting more of your read-aloud time
Want to strengthen your child's vocabulary, improve her reading scores and have fun…all in 20 minutes a day? Then try these hints to make your read-aloud time more effective: Pick a regular reading time and stick to it. Read books you both like. Preview the books yourself, then read them aloud with style for your child. Finally, stop each reading session while your child is still eager to hear what will happen next.
Friday, October 5, 2018
Make flash cards work for your child
Studying with flash cards is a great way for students to memorize a large number of math facts, definitions, dates or vocabulary words. When working with flash cards, divide them into small groups. Shuffling the cards each time they're used will help your child learn the facts in any order. Frequent, short study sessions are best, and your child should spend the most time on the cards he still has to master.
Saturday, October 6, 2018
Write your child a blank check for financial literacy
Giving a child an allowance is a great way to teach responsibility. But you may not always have the right cash on hand. Make it easier by giving your child a "checkbook." Make up some checks that look like the real thing. On the first day of the month, "deposit" your child's allowance in the checkbook. Whenever your child needs money, she can write you a check. She'll get practice writing and learn math skills in the bargain.
Sunday, October 7, 2018
Show your child what real listening looks like
There isn't a class at school called "Listening." That's because listening is important in ALL school classes. One of the best ways to teach your child to listen is to set an example. Each day, set aside some time to talk about school. Then stop what you're doing and pay attention to what your child is saying. Look him in the eye as you listen, and give him time to speak. Ask questions that encourage him to open up.
http://niswc.com/14jGC324830Monday, September 24, 2018
Help your child make a consequence connection
To teach your child that his actions have consequences, choose consequences that relate logically to his behavior. Consequences can be positive or negative. If he's late for school, for example, he has to go to bed earlier, since he clearly needs more sleep. If he completes his assignments during homework time, he can have time to play, work on his hobbies, read a book or watch a TV program you have approved.
Tuesday, September 25, 2018
When you want action, write your child a note
You've told your child over and over to clean up her room. But dirty clothes and toys still cover the floor. Instead of losing your cool, try leaving a note. You might write: "Dear Sweetie, this room needs to be tidied. Please put your clothes in the hamper. Put the toys on the shelf. Return dirty dishes to the kitchen. Thanks in advance." Kids love getting notes, and your child will have a checklist to follow.
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Add some family drama to bedtime stories
Have you run out of bedtime story ideas? Try giving your characters names that rhyme with family members' names. Then have the characters relive family events or look forward to the next day's activities. This is also a good way to reinforce good behavior: If your family is going on an outing the next day, the characters could make their parents happy by getting ready on time without fighting.
Thursday, September 27, 2018
Play a conversation game with your child
To encourage conversations about school, play a game called "My Day, Your Day." In the evening, let your child ask you a question about your day. After you answer, you get to ask a question about his day. This helps him feel involved instead of interrogated. Ask questions that require more than a one-word answer. Specific questions like "What did you learn in math today?" are better than general ones like "How was your day?"
Friday, September 28, 2018
How to talk with your child about tough issues
Experts say the best time to begin talking to kids about difficult issues is when they are between ages nine and 11. They're old enough to grasp the complexity of an issue. But they're still young enough to listen. When you talk with your child, share facts without exaggerating, and explain your position. Give her a chance to talk, and listen without interrupting. Then set a good example by making sure your actions support your words.
Saturday, September 29, 2018
Everyone benefits when you get involved
There is a mountain of evidence showing that family involvement makes a big difference in children's education. Your efforts can improve student achievement and attendance, and give your child a more positive attitude toward school. Plus, you'll get a better understanding of school programs and policies. Ask the teacher how you can get involved.
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Get to know your child's school counselor
Your child's school counselor is a great resource. Here are just a few of the issues you can talk about together: Concerns about schoolwork. Worries about any social or discipline issues. Your child's strengths, limitations or special needs. Thoughts about his education goals. Counselors also help students begin to think about career interests as early as elementary school.
http://niswc.com/14idC324830Monday, September 17, 2018
Make breakfast easy to grab on the go
It takes a lot of energy for children to concentrate in school. To supply that energy, stock up on nutritious foods that are easy to fix and quick to eat. That way, your child can eat a healthy breakfast and still catch the bus. Keep fresh fruit on hand. Hard boil and refrigerate some eggs in advance. Most kids can make toast with peanut butter. And if your child wants a slice of last night's chicken, let him eat it.
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Connect letters and the sounds they make
Building your child's language skills will help her learn to read. Point out the sounds that letters or groups of letters make, such as the "d" in the word "doll" or the "th" in words like "throw" and "through." Try rhyming, too. Pick out a word that your child has used in a sentence, and ask, "What rhymes with that?" Then take turns naming a rhyming word until you can't think of any more.
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Help your child make broadcast history
History is much more than a collection of facts. It is the story of people and events. Here's an idea that can make history come alive: Give your child an audio recorder. Have him create and record a "radio broadcast" exactly as it might have happened in the historical period he's studying. Suggest he add sound effects to make the story more exciting. He can even try doing "personal interviews."
Thursday, September 20, 2018
Use role-play to promote understanding
The next time you and your child have a disagreement, try switching roles. After things calm down, ask your child to pretend she's the parent and you're the child. Act the way your child was acting, and make your "parent" explain why you should behave differently. Try to convince her why she should let you do as you want. You'll have some fun mirroring each other's behavior and get a better idea of the other's point of view.
Friday, September 21, 2018
One word from you can motivate your child
Your child has been working to master a new math skill, but his homework shows that he still doesn't understand it. Your words can motivate him…or cause him to give up. Replace "You're still not getting it," with "You haven't quite mastered this yet." The word "yet" sends a signal that your child can get the answer if he just keeps going. Children will keep working if they believe they can succeed.
Saturday, September 22, 2018
Look for letters on an alphabet hike
Turn an ordinary walk into an alphabet hike and have some learning fun! Write the alphabet on a piece of paper. Then grab a paper bag and set out with your child to find one item for each letter. Pull up a Dandelion, pick up a Penny, dig for a Worm. Keep track of the letters you need as you go along. When you get home, ask your child to arrange the items in alphabetical order.
Sunday, September 23, 2018
Encourage writing, one sentence at a time
Here's a fun way to encourage your child to write. Give her a special notebook and encourage her to write down the first sentence of a story. Each day afterward, have your child write one sentence, and only one, to move the story along. It's helpful to set aside a regular time for this writing. Once a week, have her add an illustration. In time, your child will have written an imaginative and fun story.