How to Help Your Child Enjoy School
Are your little ones less than thrilled to go back to school after the holidays? Some mornings it can seem like a real battle just to get the kids in their uniforms and through the school gates, but according to Rachel Hall, Managing Director, Busy Things, Online educational resource provider, it doesn’t have to be that way. In this article, she gives some invaluable tips you can use to change your child’s outlook and help them fall in love with learning.
First day at school
Remember your child’s first day at school? Chances are, your little one was full of excitement and raring to start learning. But, once the novelty of those first few magical weeks has worn off, children can become much more reluctant. But that doesn’t mean that you need to resign yourself to coaxing and bribing your child into the classroom every morning.
By creating a positive atmosphere at home, you can encourage your child to enjoy their education and motivate them to study to the best of their ability. Doing this will not only help to avoid the dreaded tantrums outside the school gates in the morning, but it will also sow the seeds of a good work habit that will help them as they progress to higher levels of education. Here, I’ll be sharing seven ways to help your children enjoy learning and going to school.
Make sure there are no underlying issues
The social side of school life plays a major role in your child’s attitude toward their education. So, if they’re dragging their feet in the morning, you should check that they aren’t having any issues with bullying or making friends. Talk to them about playtime and ask about their classmates — speak to their teacher if you pick up on any problems.
If you think that shyness could be the cause of your child’s unhappiness at school, then you could try to arrange more playdates to help them build their social confidence. Weekend playgroups and extra-curricular activities can also be a great way for your children to improve their social skills outside of school.
Reward good performance
Rewards and praise are an essential part of motivating your children, so ask to see the work your children are doing at school or for homework, then praise them when they get good results or make an effort. Star charts and treats make great rewards, but don’t forget to offer plenty of verbal praise and feedback, too.
Try to be timely and specific when praising them, and focus on making an effort — for instance, by saying ‘I’m really impressed with how you’ve done your history homework, especially as you looked up that fact all by yourself’. This sort of praise is essential for developing a good work ethic, which will only become more important as your children start studying more independently further down the line.
Help to make homework less stressful
Homework can be a major source of stress and anxiety, so try to create a positive environment in which they can focus. Home life can be full of distractions, so set aside a quiet area or desk where your little one can give their homework their full attention, away from TVs, tablets, and phones. Let them know that help is always on hand if they need it, and don’t forget to let them relax afterwards. If homework is taking too long, then you may need to speak to their teacher in case it’s a sign of an underlying problem.
Combine learning with fun
If you think back to your own time at school, there was probably at least one subject you dreaded. You can help your own children to avoid getting stuck on difficult or boring topics by giving them some extra-curricular support in the guise of fun and games. By helping your child with tough or boring subjects in a way which is exciting and dynamic, you’ll encourage your child to move past any negative associations they may have with a particular lesson, as well as helping them catch up to their peers.
Online games, apps and resources can be useful for this, but don’t forget to get out of the house sometimes too. Trips to museums, historical sites, the theatre, or anything else that’s relevant to their schoolwork can also be a great way to reinvigorate their interest in a certain subject.
Respect the teachers
If you want your kids to take their teachers — and their schoolwork — seriously, then you need to lead by example and show their teachers the proper respect. Even if you don’t see things in quite the same way as the staff at your child’s school, you need to show you can handle any differences in a mature and professional way in front on your little one. Children learn by example, and they’re much more likely to have a polite and respectful attitude towards their teachers if they see you doing the same.
Show an interest — but don’t push
Taking an active interest in your child’s day-to-day life will show them that you’re invested in their happiness and place value on their progress. But, there’s no need to be intrusive or to push them to open up. Children often find it easier to open up when they’re busy, so if they’re sometimes reluctant to be grilled about their day, then try engaging with them through a form of play therapy. This is where you bond together through a fun activity, like going to the park or playing a game, and then bring up the topic of school in a casual way.
Let your enthusiasm be infectious
While it might often seem as though your kids are doing their best to ignore everything you say, they’re often listening much more carefully than you’d realise. So, if you’re enthusiastic about a particular subject, it could just prove infectious. Show an interest in their homework topics and make an effort to learn more together as a family.
The same goes for your attitude first thing in the morning: while it might be hard to act excited when you’re still half asleep, you should still try to engage your kids in a conversation about what’s happening later that day. If your work commitments allow for it, you could also offer to volunteer with school events or outings as a demonstration of your enthusiasm for school life.
Every parent wants their child to be happy and to perform to the best of their ability in class. By taking Rachel’s advice you can help to give your child a positive mindset and work ethic that will see them through primary school and beyond.
Busy Things aim to help teachers and parents connect with the digital generation by combining fun and laughter with the highest quality of curriculum-linked content.
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