- Family and Parenting
5 Ways to Help Your Child Succeed in School, Learning and Life
Staying On Top of The Learning Game
Life is Often a Learning Curve
Elementary School is Go Time
We all want our kids to succeed in school, learning and life from the very beginnings of their interactions. In today’s day and age, however, everything seems to move at mach 20, and for children, this seems an especially cruel reality as I watch from the sidelines, an admittedly knee-jerk want-to-be overprotective mom.
My son, age 9, struggles especially with the go, go, go of life, wanting to linger in his bed when the bus comes to collect him off to his varied academic and social duties as a child whose job it is to integrate successfully into this world of 2014 and beyond. I want for him success; of course I do – not only in the now but in building educationally sound skills to draw upon throughout his future, that will not only help him thrive as a learner of new things, but as a worker, earner and contributor in his generation.
And So The Day Begins....
School is Hard Work
But learning can be hard for some kids. Reading, language, writing, the “new math”… these things don’t always come with ease to each child. As a parent, I want to shelter and protect him from failure and difficulty, wrapping him in velvet blankets and hiding him in my loving care, but this would help no one, I know. So off he goes to school and such, while his bed gets made for his day of accomplishments.
But, how do we actually give our kids an advantage as we send them off to face life and learning that is sometimes a challenge and even a struggle? Here are some strategies for moms to help them empower their children to not only learn with fervor, but to embrace learning with a great attitude, an increasingly solid work ethic and yes, even a little fun. We have a slew of modern tools to “help along” our children’s educational development from the very earliest academic years. We just need to remember to use them, and use them to optimum potential.
Providing the Tools to Succeed in School and Learning
When Your Child Struggles...
1. Pay Attention to Your Child’s Learning Journey
The greatest things we can do for our children when it comes to learning and school are to pay attention and to care. This is easier said than done, and I never would have believed this until I was a parent myself, in the thick of it all.
There is so much going on at every given moment; activities, homework and the need for family time and play dates. The pressure is on for both parents and kids to achieve their goals and do so with some amount of finesse.
But, we as parents need to take time out of our busy schedules and our short-term goal completion to pay attention. We have to identify what areas in school our children are needing help. We need to provide support and encourage confidence and security because early intervention can be so helpful, while lessons build on one another as our children grow throughout their academic years.
Some Things Just Take Time
Don't Ignore Potential Problems
Not everyone is good at everything. If reading is a problem for children, or if math is difficult, it is imperative that we as parents acknowledge that struggles exist and work to access help toward practical resolutions, even if this is merely sitting down with our children at homework time and helping to reinforce the lessons of the day with a positive attitude. This can take all our energies, but the outcome will be monumental insofar as fostering an environment where every problem has a solution, or at least a means for improvement.
Letting our children know that struggles exist for everyone is part of interactive parenting, teaching compassion and promoting the lesson that it is how we approach our struggles that makes the man - which can be a very powerful tool for future think. After all, it is in fact, approaching struggles in itself, that is what matters. Having difficulties is OK and seeking improvement is character building.
Finally, in paying attention to our children and in knowing their academic strengths and weaknesses, we show them that they are valuable to us; that we are interested in them and that they are worthy of great interest. It will build their self-esteem and their self-worth. They will know they are significant and that their well-being and their unique struggles, are worthy of importance and deserve attention – ours and their own toward making things better.
Spend Time With Your Child Developing Their Skills
Teaching the Ethics of Success:
- Be kind to and respect others
- Care about helping the greater good
- Work hard
- Love yourself
- Identify your strengths
- Work on your weaknesses
Empowerment is the Key
2. Empower and Enable Your Child to Succeed in School
This 2nd strategy is all about gaining an edge. We want to give our kids the most we can in terms of boosting their potentials. This translates into skill-building and teaching values that encourage the pursuit and expectation of success. We can model the motivation to do the best we can at what we are doing. We can show our children that we expect them to embrace their difficulties with an attitude of hard work.
When some kids learn to read, it can be hard. Engaging in sports or other activities can be challenging for certain kids. Math can seem like a mountain of work sometimes. However, with the right amount of confidence and cultivated drive, as well as a stronghold on perspective, humor and love, kids can face their academic, physical and social challenges with a feeling of empowerment – and hope. They can also understand that if something is difficult for them, perhaps facing this difficulty head on and surmounting it is a more desirable pursuit than ignoring it and hoping it will go away or go unnoticed.
Toward this end, we can give our kids the knowledge that we believe they can succeed. We can teach them how to be innovative and resourceful in finding what things help them, and we can show them that we as parents never think it is a bad idea to ask for or seek help. As well, we must remember to tell our children that they can and should go above and beyond the normal effort to do well in school and all things they are passionate about, or which they should probably at least try to cultivate a passion toward. Teach them to expect success and teach them to be prepared. All these things start in elementary school. Make no mistake; learning is no joke and early learning prepares our children for a lifetime of knowing just how to learn what we need to survive and soar.
It Takes Hard Work to Succeed in School and to Keep Learning
3. Draw from Today’s Educational Resources
The world is filled with different types of learners. Not everything works for everyone as kids learn to read or embrace math concepts and educators today are well aware of this reality. One positive in this uber-push for top education, is that there are many resources available to parents and children to give them an edge, or simply help those in need of extra attention.
- Educational TV – for very young children, there are educational shows that can initiate educational developmental thinking very early on. Be mindful of the choices you select for your children when you turn on the TV. You can really give them a boost and cultivate an interest in learning from truly the earliest of times. Not only are there educational children’s shows that can help them learn to read, speak the language and write, but the history channel, the learning channel and even the cooking channel can motivate new interests and show children that even adults enjoy learning new things every day.
Beyond Traditional Classroom
- After-school Help – In grades K-6, and certainly beyond, you will find that teacher want to help their students. In fact, almost all schools offer after hours help in areas of both math and reading if requested. There are also in school programs to help readers that may be lagging behind in reading, writing, language arts and comprehension. If you are paying attention as in rule #1, you will know when your child may benefit from taking advantage of the help that is available to them through the school system.
- Online Learning Resources – In today’s day of technology, computers play a very important role in our children’s education and so can online resource sites which offer fun virtual math and online reading programs. These educative gems provide a venue for practicing reading skills and math facts through fun interactive activities.
A Modern World of Learning
Online Educational Resources:
Essential Skills Advantage Website – a membership web site that teaches language skills and reading online for kids grades K-6.
Funbrain – an early learning gaming site which provides practice math applications in the format of online games.
Infoplease Homework Center – An online educational site teaching advanced math concepts, science and the like for children growing beyond elementary.
Pearson Successnet.com – a comprehensive learning site that corresponds with textbooks currently being used in the educational system which can be accessed in conjunction with your school.
Schools often recommend sites which work with their curriculum such as Essential Skills Advantage which provide excellent online reading instruction tools and modules. Fun, interactive activities and online games build and enhance reading skills and promote developmental learning in an interesting, visually stimulating way that appeals to many different types of learners.
Because not all learners are the same, online educational lessons can offer new ways to teach reading and comprehension skills that vary from those offered in the school setting, providing further advantage for kids that might require an alternative approach. Benefits of such learning sites include extra practice of elementary concepts, interactive and engaging activities that make learning how to read and understand math feel recreational, programs developed by highly experienced teachers, and free or affordable memberships, providing full, anytime access to content. ESA specifically, even has a learning management platform to help track your child’s success through an accredited online reading program. Most importantly, in taking advantage of online reading programs or math skill-building sites, reading online and practicing math facts can become fun for kids and something they want to do.
All Learners Are Different
- Special School Personnel – Schools today have many programs and many special educators, funded to help our children succeed. They are trained professionals willing to give our kids the extra help and the attention they deserve and which they may need if having special difficulties in school. Parents need to know that these services are theirs for the asking and their child has only to benefit from soaking up this resource from the earliest of times.
Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
- Ben Franklin
4. Find the Balance Between School and Play
If success in learning is the goal, then overstimulation and overscheduling is certainly not the answer. Helping your child establish a clear list of priorities will go far in ensuring their continued success in life.
School and academics needs to rank high on the list of important things to focus on during elementary years, along with family time and down time. If children are overtired or overscheduled doing well can be nearly impossible for some.
If sleepovers and extended playdates need to take a back seat or if bedtime needs to be set in stone, these rules can only be for the good. One sport per season may be a good rule of thumb as well. Children will learn to respect their own limits in such a worldview and this will go far in helping them succeed throughout their lifetime.
Make Sure You Take a Break and Leave Room for Reward
The Importance of Laughter:
Laughter is, as folk wisdom says, contagious. Just listening to someone else laugh can be enough to start a person laughing.
5. Keep it Light for Better Learning
Once we as parents have encouraged our children to do their best, we must take a step back and remember that our kids are still just that: kids. They need humor, they need light and they need times where the pressures of life and learning are off the table. Down time can be oh so healing and can return our little soldiers back to the battlefield refreshed and ready to fight if done in good doses.
Remember also to laugh with your children. The power of a positive attitude can move mountains for kids. It helps them to know even when things don’t go perfectly well, we can laugh and it makes it all ok. None of our struggles are so serious that we can’t smile and share some fun and love.
In learning, too, humor is important. According to the American Academy of Child Psychology and articles like How Laughing Leads to Learning at the American Psychological Association website, kids tend to remember statistics better when associated with a lesson that was humorous. Perhaps this is why online learning games that are fun are so effective in teaching kids reading and math. When having fun, kids tend to learn better and be more interested in and passionate about their subject matter.
Childhood and Learning Can Be Fun
Be Your Child's Educational Partner - Stay Involved!
What Do You Think?
Have you and your child ever struggled with a school-related or learning issue?
Do you think fostering a good attitude and solid work ethic in elementary school years can make a difference?
Products to Consider:
This educative gaming system is great for kids and will provide many hours of not only fun activity, but developmental skill building. Take it anywhere!
Further Support for Parents:
- Parents - ED.gov - This national educational resource website is great for parents. It contains loads of information to help parents with common educational issues and concerns.
- National Education Association - This site contains parent partnership resources to assist parents as they manage their children's education from primary and secondary years through college.
Similar Reading on Hub Pages:
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Other Parenting Articles by Amie Butchko:
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