A large concern for parents is how to ensure your child will be ready for the coming school year. There are many steps parents can take to assist their child’s academic success both in present day and into their future scholastic career. Read these nine tips about how to facilitate the best possible learning for your child outside of the classroom.
- Stick to a Schedule - Children need structure and routine for a very important reason. Having a regular schedule gives children a sense of security necessary for developing self-discipline, ultimately increasing productivity as they grow older. Just as children have learning schedules within school, creating a schedule outside of the classroom will help them succeed. Have a standard for waking up in the morning, having breakfast, doing chores, doing homework, having dinner, getting ready for bed, and going to sleep.
- Teach Organization - Good organizational skills follow a child during their entire academic career. Building these skills at an early age will help your child be ahead of the game by the time they reach higher education, where organization is absolutely crucial for academic success. Show them how to organize their bedroom and keep it clean by putting all items in designated spots. Make sure your child has a system of organizing schoolwork as well, including a designated place to put all homework that is due the following day. Teach them to get organized the night before waking up for school, including having them pack their backpack in advance, pick out clothes for the next day, and other tasks that will run more smoothly if planned in advance. Teaching your child how to use a calendar planner is a great way to teach organization. Getting used to using a planner at a young age will ensure great scheduling skills for later years.
- Set Aside Homework Time - Scheduling and organizing homework is an important tool for children to learn from a young age. Setting aside specific hours for your child to complete homework assignments will teach them this important skill. Depending on your child’s age and grade, set aside at least an hour or two each night specifically for homework. If your child does not have homework one night, they can use this time to study or read ahead. Building this positive habit will benefit them throughout their life and will ensure they are getting an appropriate amount of time to work on their homework assignments, helping contribute to academic success.
- Make Sure Your Child is Getting Enough Sleep- Getting adequate sleep is absolutely essential for a child’s mental and physical development. Additionally, sleep is critical for doing well in the classroom, as a lack of sleep directly impacts brain function. If a child is tired, their performance will ultimately suffer. One important tip for establishing better sleep habits is to have an established, set bedtime each night that is virtually nonnegotiable. As mentioned, children thrive when structure is in place. Children will begin to associate the time with getting to sleep and will become accustomed to the routine, making it easier to fall asleep. Another recommendation is to limit media use for at least an hour before bedtime, as the mental stimulation caused by screens can keep the brain awake, making it difficult to fall asleep.
- Make Sure Your Child is Getting Enough Exercise - With childhood obesity at an all time high, parents are being called to make an increased effort to get their children moving. Not getting enough physical activity can negatively impact a child’s present and future health. In fact, exercise helps a child build strong bones, joints, and muscles, helps improve motor coordination skills, improves the quality and quantity of a child’s sleep, and reduces childhood symptoms of depression and anxiety. In terms of academic performance, research shows that exercise even enhances academic performance! Additionally, children are able to sit and focus for longer periods of time if they are able to expend some physical energy during the day. One way to promote physical activity is to get your child involved in a team sport, which can improve interpersonal skills simultaneously.
- Make Sure Your Child is Getting Proper Nutrition - Once again, childhood obesity has become a huge problem in modern times, and nutrition plays a huge role. However, poor nutrition affects more than just the body. The brain needs certain nutrients to be able to function optimally. Eliminate as much sugary and processed foods as possible, and try to include as many fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins as possible in their diets. As the saying goes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, as it ensures your child will have the energy in the classroom. Pack healthy, nutritious lunches for your child to take to school, as many schools do not have the same healthy options available for purchase. Cooking meals at home ensures that the parent has control over what the child is eating, as restaurant and fast food meals often have more calories than realized. Additionally, the parent has more control over portions. If you are having trouble finding time to prepare meals each day, try to set time aside for meal prep sometime during the week when you do have time. This way you are less tempted to go out to restaurants or fast food if you do not have time to cook. Keep healthy snack options around the house as well.
- Limit Media Use - With all of the technology available for children from such a young age, limiting media use is necessary for maintaining the health of your child, ultimately affecting their performance in school. Although there are situations where using the computer can be helpful for your children, there are many harmful associations with overuse. Putting limitations on media use can help reduce attention and focus problems, symptoms of depression and anxiety, and your child’s risk of obesity. Studies have indicated that children spend approximately seven hours each day using entertainment media such as television, computers, phones, and other devices. Try cutting your child’s media use to a maximum of two hours a day. Not allowing your child to have a TV or computer in their room will help you monitor their screen time and will discourage them from overuse. Try to set a good example by limiting your media use, particularly in front of your child.
- Develop a Relationship with Teachers - A great way to obtain understanding about your child’s academic performance is developing a positive relationship with their school teachers. Be sure to make attending all parent/teacher conferences a priority to stay up to date on your child’s academic strengths, weaknesses, and additional needs. Furthermore, email communication with teachers is another great way to stay informed about your child’s performance throughout the school year.
- Have your Child Attend Neurofeedback Sessions - Neurofeedback is a fantastic way to help your child achieve academic success. A preliminary brain map identifies which parts of the brain need assistance in functioning at the best possible capability, and each neurofeedback session targets these areas of the brain to teach the brain to function at optimal performance. Not only is the process safe and natural, but it does not require any additional medications. Neurofeedback is frequently used for learning and developmental disabilities, but it can also be utilized to improve function overall, which directly impacts school performance and even sports performance.
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Second image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net