One certain way to doom your child’s scholastic endeavours is to insist that they will mirror your own exemplary learning journey. Your academic pedigree impacts your child far less than conscientious, consistent parenting.
Step out of your past, be the best you can today to help your child on the path to educational excellence.
Begin with the practical...
A healthy body enhances a healthy mind. Children need food, drink and rest to be able to maximise their learning potentials. Provide a balanced, nutritious diet in frequent, appropriately sized portions. A healthy breakfast to start the day is a must. Many schools allow children a fruit and vegetable snack during class time as well as continual access to drinking water.
Growing bodies need sleep. Left to their own devices, some children avoid bedtime at all costs. A responsible parent ensures that children have ample opportunity to gain satisfactory sleep.
Allow your child time to play, relax and have the luxury of ‘nothing to do’. Extra curricular activities provide wonderful opportunities, but find a balance between work and play. Overloaded children run the risk of burning out.
Provide an environment conducive to study. Whether your child works at the kitchen table, or at their own desk elsewhere in the house, make sure they have the best environment possible in which to study. Consider adequate lighting, minimal distractions (turn off the TV and remove the annoying sibling), comfortable temperature and ergonomic furniture.
Be organised. Model and encourage good organisation. Mark activities and due dates on the calendar. Have uniforms and lunches ready early before school. Train your child to be responsible for his or her own matters (ie returning a reader, remembering lunch) from the earliest school days.
Train your child to manage time effectively. Make home study tasks a priority after school and don’t allow a child to leave a project until the midnight hour.
Equip your child with the necessary resources. Invest in dictionaries; provide internet access; join and frequent the local library; provide paper, pens, erasers, rulers.... it sounds trivial, but many a homework session has been thwarted due to the lack of an eraser or pencil sharpener.
With practical measures in place for success, train your attitude to hone your child’s true abilities.
Value your child’s schooling....
Demonstrate in word and action that schooling is important. Value the institution and the individual. Uphold the ideals of your child’s school and protect the dreams of your child.
Respect the authorities over your child...
Don’t undermine teachers in the presence of your child. Support staff decisions and efforts. If you have a legitimate concern, don’t carelessly air it in front of your child. Aim to resolve conflict without fallout damaging your child’s application to learning.
Expect the best from your child....
Make it clear to them that ‘near enough is NOT good enough’. Mediocrity and nonchalance should never be acceptable.
That said, ACCEPT your child’s best. Be it an A or an E, your child achieving his or her personal best should be acknowledged and rewarded. It is not your child’s responsibility to exceed your own amazing academic accomplishments, neither does your child need to atone for your personal ineptitude.
We all want our children to reach for the stars, but it may be far better for our children if we measure success in terms of a graduating student with healthy self esteem and an independent work ethic rather than a long list of A’s (as much as we crave those shining grades)!
Have you got tips to share with other mums? Tell us what has worked for you