The start of any school year is tough for both parents and students. Here are 5 great tips to inspire parents to give kids the support they need:
1. Be aware.
Parents who are in tune with what their children are doing, how they are feeling, and who they are with are better equipped to guide them through any academic, social, and emotional challenges. When a child is acting out or has become reserved, it is easy for parents to become frustrated. Offering a listening ear, acknowledging a child’s feelings, and guiding them in the next step are great ways to build trust.
2. Cultivate skill sets.
Like many adults, children and teens can greatly benefit from organization, time management, and self-regulation strategies. Our world has become fast-paced so it is easy to focus on getting an assignment done, rather than getting it done well.
3. Foster your child’s creativity.
Creativity carries great significance because it is an ability that teaches cognitive skills, encourages communication and problem solving, and involves imagination. People tend to be the most creative when they are doing something they enjoy. Parents can help their children develop creativity by encouraging them to experiment with hobbies and new ideas. Parents should follow their child’s interests as they change, look for opportunities that stem from these interests, and encourage free expression rather than fixed results.
4. Embrace mistakes.
When students are learning new material, they will make mistakes. It is so easy for children to become discouraged, but it is crucial to master the concepts that students are struggling with before moving on. Instead of feeling shame for mistakes, parents should remind students that the mistakes are merely showing where more practice is necessary. Students will also benefit if their parents are patient and specific about errors. It is much easier to retain information when you know why something is incorrect. By showing how every mistake can be overcome, students will develop a more constructive relationship with mistakes, and push themselves to their full potential.
5. Get help early on.
Don't wait until the first bad report card or stressful parent-teacher conference. Stay involved with your child's learning early in the school year and monitor how they are progressing in school. If you detect any signs of a struggle, a simple question of "how are you doing at school?' isn't enough. You should ask to see their assignments, check their online grades, and contact their teachers for any signs of a problem. Work with your child to help them improve or, if you are not readily available, get help from an expert such as a tutor send them to a learning center. Building a strong foundation early on is one of the keys to a successful school year.