It’s a new year and a new semester. If the last report card could use some improvement, check out these 14 secrets for school success.
- Find “the spot.” Have a special spot for your children to put everything they need to go to school the next day. Finished homework? Signed permission forms? Don’t just put it away—put it in the spot.
- Provide feedback. Let the teacher(s) know if you have concerns or notice a change in your child’s behavior. Positive and negative feedback should be welcomed if delivered in a respectful manner.
- Teach organizational skills. Can’t find their homework? Forgot their books at school? Missed that important due date? It might be time to coach your children on using an agenda or calendar and on how to schedule their time effectively.
- Promote reading. Books, comics, cereal boxes—it’s all good! Give those library cards a workout.
- Encourage curiosity. Plan family field trips. Go exploring. Collect interesting books and magazines. Encourage your child to keep a notebook or journal.
- Model a love of learning. Enthusiasm is contagious. Get your children hooked on learning by showing them how much you enjoy learning new things yourself.
- Establish a homework routine. Have a set a time, preferably right after school, when your child will complete his/her homework. Try to stick to this routine. Your child never has homework? Call the school—you may be surprised.
- There’s always homework. No assigned homework? Then review or strengthen skills. Past report cards can be an excellent source for focus areas. Review old tests and assignments with your children. Celebrate successes, and figure out how points were lost—help them learn from their mistakes.
- Designate a homework area. Sending a child to his/her room to complete homework doesn’t always work. Try designating the kitchen table or a desk in the family room away from TV and distractions.
Extracurricular Activity Tips:
- There’s more to life than books. Students should be encouraged to join extracurricular activities. They help to give insight into interests and future careers, build self-esteem, and promote physical fitness.
- Don’t over do it. Some students are so busy with sports and lessons that they have no time or energy left to focus on their studies. Balance is the key.
Health and Nutrition Tips:
- Sleep. Sleep-deprived students are not efficient learners. Paying attention and processing information takes energy. Children between the ages of 5 and 12 need around 10-12 hours of sleep a night. Teenagers do best with 8-10 hours of sleep.
- You are what you eat. Ensure your child has nutritious lunches and snacks. Learning takes energy, so fuel your child with “high octane” choices including fruit, vegetables, and foods low in sugar.
- Breakfast is a must. It’s hard to concentrate when your tummy is rumbling. No time? Eat a sandwich in the car or on the bus. Not hungry? Yogurt, fruit, or granola bars can make good mid-morning snacks.
Rob Stringer is an award winning educator, speaker and author from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada who continues to coach teachers, assist parents and excite children with his high energy approach to teaching and learning.