Published : Tuesday, July 17, 2018 | 1:54 PM
We can all agree that supporting our children’s success in school is top of mind every day. Will they know how to solve problems on their own? Will they recognize the connection between their health habits and success? Will they complete their homework to the best of their ability?
These might be lofty questions for younger children, but we can help guide children of all ages to the answers. Here’s how parents can start laying the foundation at home to support and encourage success.
First, give your young children simple tasks to complete at home. Maybe it’s putting their plate next to the sink or washing their hands before dinner. Praise them for the effort so they can build on their newfound skills. Be specific about your praise; this helps encourage independence, autonomy skills, and confidence.
For older children, build their responsibilities through a variety of activities, including cleaning their rooms, helping to set the table, or sorting laundry. These are all examples of simple responsibilities that help children foster their growing independence.
This is a very important point. We don’t want to rescue our children, but be there as a sounding board and support system. That way our children learn to problem-solve on their own.
Another area where we can make an important impact is in our children’s health habits.
As parents, we can serve as role models and help our children learn how to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle. This includes understanding nutrition concepts and the value of physical activity.
● Germs can make them sick
● They can wash their hands to get rid of germs
● Parents, doctors, and dentists can help them if they’re sick
● Eating, playing, and resting makes them healthy
● Healthy food is important to help them grow strong and fit
● Eat a variety of foods every day (think of a rainbow)
● Food should be cleaned and prepared properly before being eaten
● Water is important to keep them healthy
● Encourage breakfast
● Pack healthy snacks
● Talk about the nutritional value of food
● Encourage family mealtime
● Don’t eat while watching TV
● Avoid using food as a reward
● Develop a sleep routine
● Cut back on TV, caffeine, and sugar before bedtime
● Be conscious of an over-packed schedule
● Provide a sleep-friendly bedroom (window coverings, comfortable bed)
● Exercise makes their muscles strong and healthy
● They sleep better when they exercise
● Exercise is fun
● They’re happier when they exercise
How about homework? What should our role be, and how is our role different from that of our children? Our role is to encourage individual responsibility. That is, homework should be our children’s responsibility, not ours.
However, that doesn’t mean we don’t have a support role to play. We should provide a quiet area and the materials needed to do homework. We can check over the homework to make sure it’s completed, yet refrain from solving the problems.
Finally, we shouldn’t be afraid to let our children learn through their mistakes. These have the opportunity to become “successful failures,” especially if we provide ample time for downtime, family time, and play time. Learn more at stratfordschools.com.