1. Make reading exciting
Children begin learning to read, not by learning the letters, then learning words, and so on, but by experiencing reading. As toddlers, children see their moms and dads reading, or may even have stories read to them. They associate text with something that is about to be exciting. Keep it that way! Start by reading to your children at a young age and buy them books that you know will interest them. As children read, they build their vocabulary, learn about sentence structure, increase their reading speed and improve their imaginations. This in turn will result in them excelling in all of their subjects.
2. Limit the use of technology at home
While there are plenty of educational games and television programs, allowing your young child to spend too much time on your iPad or phone can limit their fine and gross motor skills. Too much gadget use can also lead to speech problems, learning problems (like Attention Deficits), lack of sleep and even childhood depression. In teens, too much gadget use can lead to a lack of motivation to do school work, a lack of interest in other extracurricular activities, a lack of sleep, poor eyesight and in some cases, teens may even become victims of cyber bullying. While taking away phones, computers and other gadgets may not make you the most popular person in your child’s life, remember that you are their parent first and their friend second.
A good way to limit technology use could be to take gadgets away during homework time, and taking them away at bed time. Don’t let your child sleep with their phone next to them. Reward children with a few hours of phone, computer or tablet time once all of their homework is finished.
3. Encourage children to complete tasks on their own, or limit the amount of help that you give them
We all know the jokes about how it’s the parents who really get the marks for projects, and not the children. If your child is given a project or an assignment, let them try to do it on their own. If parents are too quick to help their children, the children may become more and more dependent on the parent.
With primary school projects like speeches, posters and even building projects, ask your child if they have any ideas, and hear them out. This shows them that you believe in them and trust that they can take responsibility for their work. With high school assignments, only help if your child asks for help. When essays and speeches are involved, ask your child if you can proof-read it for them.
4. Help your child become organised
From the beginning of your child’s school career, your child should have a homework diary that they write their homework for the day in. As a parent, it is important that you check this and make sure that the work is done. As your child proceeds to high school, encourage them to continue keeping a homework diary.
Help your child organize a file for their loose papers, assignment papers, booklets etc. Organize the file by subject, and at the end of the day, go through each subject with your child and ask what they did that day. This will help your child to complete assignments before the due date, so that there is no “night-before” stressing.
5. Be enthusiastic about the things that your child enjoys
Whether it is sport, reading, learning random facts, expressing their feelings and opinions etc., be there to encourage your child. Be his or her number one fan. Participate in intellectual discussions with your child. This shows them that you believe in them and support them in everything they do. By doing this, your child will know that you trust them and that you want the best for them.
Ask about your child’s day, what they learned and how their day went. Not only does this encourage healthy discussion, build your child’s confidence, improve their social skills and vocabulary, and help your child feel loved, but as a parent, it gives you the opportunity to pick up on anything that may be wrong with him or her. Be there for as many of your child’s matches, concerts or competitions as possible, show your child that you support them in everything that they do.