Parents want their children to do well in school. You may already implement early bedtimes, assist with homework, limit sugar in lunches, and discuss on-going updates with their teacher.
Here’s a few more ideas:
The more I know about my son’s school experience, the more I can help it be a good one for him. I’m eager to hear about his day when he comes home. My first desire is to bombard him with questions—the last thing he wants. The best way to engage him in this kind of conversation is to share with excitement about my work and my day. Before long he is telling me what’s important to him without the pressure of probing questions. This seems to ground him in his day and give him the opportunity to revisit some of the learning that took place.
Take turns reading to each other every day. Even when the child is old enough to hole up with a book for hours on their own, this can still be a cornerstone of connection. It also reminds them of those times when you used to read to them.
Provide a time and place for homework. Is it a comfortable and well-lit place or is your child jammed between the left-over dinner dishes on the dining room table? Some children need a relatively quiet place while others work well amidst other family activities.
Learning from the Inside
Rewards—like payment or movies—as well as punishment are external to the child’s learning. Encourage learning to come from the inside. Parents can give feedback that allows the child to develop their own internal love of learning. When a child shows his finished homework, the parent might ask, “How did that make you feel?” or “What do you like about the work you did?”
Talents and Weaknesses
A great gift is to help the child focus on their talents. Remind them that they will build their future and career around their talents, not their weaknesses. Successful people put energy toward their talents and maintain minimal standards in other areas.
Charging their Batteries
What is your child passionate about? What would they spend time doing instead of homework? Encourage a variety of activities to help them discover interests and talents. Balance these activities with homework.