3 Ways to Help Your Kids Succeed in School
As parents, we all want our little ones to do their best. And you can play a big role in helping your child reach her potential by giving her some guidance and encouragement. Set aside just a half hour a day to nurture your child’s curiosity and create a plan for success with these simple steps:
by reading aloud
Children whose parents read to them have better language and literacy skills when they get to school. What’s more, they are more likely to love reading, according to a study in Archives of Disease in Childhood. To help your little ones get even more from reading time, ask questions about the story (“Where did you think the rabbit was going to go?”); talk about the characters (“Why do you think he did that?”); and help them make connections to their own life (“Remember when we saw a rabbit in the backyard?”). Or stop before turning the page and ask, “What do you think will happen next?”
Try this! Offer your child
an incentive for reading. Log
the minutes she spends with
her nose in a book, then at
the end of two weeks treat her
to a reward, like a family bike
ride. Or extend bedtime by 20 minutes as long as the extra time is spent reading.
2. Make studying second nature by setting a schedule
Children thrive on routine and organization—yes, even when it comes to studying! So set up a quiet, distraction-free area with good lighting and proper supplies, and establish a study hour. Then help your child figure out which tasks to tackle first so he doesn’t feel overwhelmed. Break study time into 15-minute segments, say, and let him take a five-minute break in between.
Tip! Tune in to your child’s frustration. If he seems upset or irritated, ask him to talk about it. Sometimes just venting can help him refocus.
3. Foster curiosity by wondering why
Get your child interested in the world by asking a lot of questions. “How do you think the doctor feels when she has to give you a shot?” “What’s the difference between Cinderella and Snow White?” “Why do you think that dog is growling?” And welcome your child’s questions, too. Asking about things means she’s stimulated by her surroundings. Instead of simply giving her the answer, help her discover it on her own. Do some research together. Or ask questions that steer her to the solution.
Is your child struggling?
Read on to find out if one of these disorders may be to blame—and what can be done to turn it around.
- What it is: a neurological and behavioral disorder characterized by difficulties with communication. One out of every 50 school-age children has the condition—a 72% increase since 2007, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Signs: difficulty with social interaction, trouble recognizing and experiencing emotions, and difficulty processing and appreciating the thoughts and feelings of others.
- Treatment: medication, therapy and social skills groups
- What it is: a neurological disorder that causes your brain to process and interpret information differently. It can interfere with reading, writing, spelling and sometimes speaking.
- Signs: Young children may have trouble recognizing letters, matching them to sounds and pronouncing words. School-age kids have difficulty reading, spelling, remembering facts and numbers, and with handwriting.
- Treatment: With help from a tutor or teacher, people with dyslexia can become good readers and writers.
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- What it is: With this disorder, levels of brain chemicals are out of balance, leading to problems with organization and social interactions. One in 10 children is now diagnosed with ADHD, according to new research from the CDC. About one-third of people with learning disabilities have ADHD, according to the National Center for Learning Disabilities.
- Signs: There are two main types (hyperactive- impulsive and inattentive)—plus a third type, which is a combination of the two. Kids with the hyperactive- impulsive type are often restless, have trouble taking turns and can’t control temper outbursts. Those with the inattentive type don’t appear to pay attention to details or listen when spoken to, have trouble finishing homework and are disorganized.
- Treatment: A combination of medication and behavioral therapy. Social skills training can help, too.