As parents, we all want to see our children thrive and succeed at school but what’s the best way to help them achieve? Dakota Murphey consulted Red Box Recruitment, a leading teaching agency in London for some valuable advice on how you can help your child to be happy and successful at school.
Help with homework
Two common parental approaches to homework are plain wrong. The first is letting your child do their homework entirely on their own. If a child is left to work alone they can become overwhelmed by problems they don’t think they understand. The second option is to do their homework for them to ensure that they get good marks and have more time at home to enjoy themselves.
Neither of these approaches will be beneficial to their learning. Instead you should sit down with your child while they do their homework so that they can get the learning benefits from it but can also ask you to clarify anything they don’t understand.
The right food
It’s tempting to allow children to eat what they want. After all, the foods they love make them happy and if they’re happy they’ll learn better at school, right? Wrong. The short term benefits of letting them eat junk food is outweighed by the fact that it their bodies and brains will not be nourished adequately or developed properly.
Healthy, balanced meals with a good mix of protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre are the best fuel for learning. Remember that the five portions of fruit and vegetables a day recommended by doctors are a minimum, not a target.
Allow children their own passions
Like adults, every child is different, with specific interests that may develop from an early age. It’s important to allow them to explore this passion and avoid pressuring them into subjects and areas simply because you think they’re worthwhile, or you enjoy them yourself.
Nurture their love for drawing, or animals, or dancing – and once you understand what it is they love about it, you can use that to engage them with other topics.
Understand the benefits of failure
Failure is not only a fact of life, it’s an integral part of success at school. Kids need to learn that overcoming something that you have struggled with is highly rewarding. It can be difficult to watch children having problems with a certain task but you must resist the temptation to do it for them or take them out of the situation. The eventual benefits for problem solving, perseverance and work ethic will pay massive dividends at school.
Associate learning with fun
A real barrier for learning can be the idea that you don’t enjoy the subject you are learning about. If your child gets into a routine of believing they dislike school or learning it can take a lot to get them back to successful ways. Making an association between learning and having fun is an important way to help them.
Being in a good mood makes everything easier and children are more likely to rise to a challenge if they feel positive about it. Integrate games with learning – there are now thousands of apps and computer games that are designed to bring in learning as part of the process.
Enjoy reading time
It’s no secret that reading is important to your child’s development. Get into the habit of reading to your children from a young age and then make reading time a part of the daily routine – not just at bedtime.
Nurture your children’s love for books and stories. As the kids grow, story time will turn into reading together time until, ultimately, they’re old enough to read a whole book on their own.
Teach them an instrument
Finally, think about introducing your child to music. Learning an instrument can be about a lot more than just being able to play a tune. Studies have shown that lessons on an instrument can improve a child’s memory, reading, maths and even spatial awareness. It can also be an excellent social tool that can lead to your child joining an orchestra or a band.