The school year is about half over. Your school-age children are meeting many new challenges and you would like to help. What can you do?
Most important, take an interest. Ask them to show you their work. Talk with them about what they are studying. Think of family activities or expeditions to enrich your children’s learning experiences. Talking with them increases their fund of general knowledge, develops their listening skills and sparks their interest level.
Respect your child’s work. You can demonstrate the value you place on it by setting aside priority time when your child can do homework in an unhurried way without distractions. Be open to help. Give positive strokes frequently and encourage independent thinking. Young children need help in planning ahead. Even older children need guidance on how to study or manage time for long-term projects. You can help them set up a flexible structure. Kids feel cared about when receiving appropriate limit setting, encouragement and nurturing.
Parents can teach children about achieving high standards without requiring them to be perfect by unduly pressuring them to perform beyond their level-headed best. Ask them to redo a sloppy job or elaborate on a too-brief assignment. Consistency and thoroughness are important qualities to develop.
One word of caution: don’t become overly invested in your children’s performance. Be realistic about their ability. A child pressured to succeed beyond their capability creates low self esteem and eventual disappointment for all. Also, remember that our children will imitate our habits frequently whether good or bad. The adage “D0 as I say, not as I do,” if communicated non-verbally, might set parents up to lose respect in their children’s eyes.