Encouraging Your Child to be a Successful Student
When raising children to get the best from their education, one of the most important points to consider is that learning doesn't start and finish at the school gates. The best students tend to be those who find their studies enjoyable, and helping your children to do that must start at home, from an early age. How is this done?
Give your child every opportunity to get creative with their toys. There's a reason why lego, blocks, dolls houses and paint sets never go out of fashion. Don't confine their playthings by age (unless it's totally inappropriate) or gender but encourage them to play with as many different types of toy as they can, making up stories, taking things apart and putting them back together, and making a mess. This experimentation helps because everyone learns differently, so it improves manual dexterity, problem-solving and more.
Education outside the classroom brings manifold benefits besides bringing a subject matter to life - it can help children forge bonds with their peers; learn new skills, grow in confidence and if abroad, develop an interest in a new language. Of course regular trips can be expensive, although there are applications around such as Parent Mail that help facilitate and keep track of payments, making things a bit easier for both parents and staff organisers.
Make It Fun
With the possible exception of algebra there are a million-and-one ways to make learning fun. A lot of parents with younger children try to get them off to a good start by making up songs around the alphabet, counting, or colours. The saying goes "playing to learn, not learning to play."
Unfortunately at school it's easy for children to fall in with a bad crowd, which can lead to their studies being derailed. While no parent wants to tell their child who they should and shouldn't socialise with, there is a fine line to be walked here. Perhaps the best step is if your child is friends with other students who don't have much interest in their education then you can step in early on to provide a balancing influence without having to keep them apart.
Take every occasion to further your child's education - even the most boring of days can inspire! That could mean letting them choose and help make their own breakfast, talking about the trees and plants you pass on the walk to school, or how the car works if you drive. Essentially, and I do appreciate this sounds a bit airy-fairy but you take my point, let them discover the magic of life for themselves.
Instilling a love of reading in your child can begin from when they're just a few months old, as you recite stories to soothe them with your voice. It goes on through bedtime stories, until you're helping them to understand what words mean in books from primary school. Even teenagers often appreciate reading with their parents - there are many books such as Harry Potter or Twilight, which have an appeal to all ages, and it's fun to work through books together and discuss them as you're going along.
Don't Focus On Grades
Or at least, not to the exclusion of everything else. Kids today are tested repeatedly throughout their school years and it drains a lot of the joy from education. So when taking an interest in your child's studies, concentrate more on helping them to understand and enjoy things rather than just what their test scores look like.
Help your children keep their coursework organised, as it removes a lot of the stress. That could mean anything from buying regular supplies of post-it notes and folder dividers, to creating a homework space for them in the office at home.
All of us had a subject we hated at school and would prefer never to revisit, for me it was Physics. But it's important not to pass that along to your children in case they miss out on a field of study which they might turn out to love. It can help to re-learn the basics, perhaps through YouTube tutorials, so you're ready for homework duties. And try to smother that grimace when the dreaded textbook makes an appearance!
When it gets time to start thinking about university, be there to help your child make the right decision, but don't force his or her hand. Some students derive a lot of benefit from a well-planned gap year, others will better suit going straight into employment, and there are many other paths too. It's important not to pressure your child into attending university, with the additional cost implications, unless they are ready to make the most of it.