While school will grow your child’s knowledge, life skills, and other talents, it’s important for you to remember that their educational foundation begins at home. Whether you’re a full-time parent or only see them in between shifts at work, your involvement in their education can make a world of difference. If you want to foster a learning environment at home and give them the best chance at succeeding academically, there are a few key strategies you should implement.
From your child’s first day in the world they are already engaging with and learning about the world through sight, smell, touch, and perhaps more importantly, sound. While they might not be making lifelong memories, this time is vital in pulling out and fostering your child’s latent intelligence. In fact, children of parents who spend little time talking to them tend to fall behind on language skills by as much as six months by the age of two. Given the importance of language and child intelligence, interacting with your child in this simple way can have far-reaching consequences throughout their development.
Just like language skills, your child’s math skills begin developing before they ever set foot in a classroom. While sitting your 3-year-old down for an algebra session obviously isn’t going to happen, there are other ways to teach them seemingly advanced mathematical concepts at an early age. For example, while making your child’s favorite dessert or shopping for groceries, you can also teach them about measuring quantities via ingredients, percentages through item sales and budgeting, and other techniques that are essential for both success in the classroom and in life.
No child can be talented at every subject and it’s important that you know the difference between a lack of skill and a lack of effort. If you’re taking an active role in your child’s education, you’ll know whether they’re having difficulty in a subject because they aren’t doing their homework and in-class assignments or simply don’t have a natural knack for a particular subject. If your child is receiving poor grades in one subject despite their best efforts, then scolding or punishing them for that will only further diminish their confidence. Instead, emphasize the subjects they are good at and find supplemental tools for improving them in weak areas, whether it’s practice assignments or tutoring sessions.
Report cards are only one way of measuring your child’s education experience, and a very limited one at that. To get the most out of their time at school, keep in regular contact with their teachers and don’t miss parent-teacher conferences. This will give you a clearer picture of where they’re struggling so you can arrange for any remedial help to catch up on deficiencies early. Likewise, you’ll also gain insight into which subjects and skills they are succeeding at so that you can further develop their natural talents at home.
While education and learning should be their own reward, there’s nothing wrong with letting your child earn a little treat for dedication to their studies. It’s a simple fact that, later on in life, diligence during their school years will result in material rewards like a higher salary or more prestigious job, so reinforce this concept early by having your child work towards periodic rewards based on grades. These need not be expensive, either. For example, you can extend extra privileges around the home for completed homework.
While you may not have a degree in education, you are still far and away your child’s most important teacher. Take an active role in their education from an early age, as this will provide them with the foundational skills they need to succeed in a structured academic environment.
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