by Michele Carelse on July 6th, 2011 at 7:00 am
Yes, it’s still summer… but back to school can mean a lot of preparation and planning, so get your kids on the correct path to learning and knowledge in a natural and SAFE manner now!
School can be loads of fun, but may also be a daunting place for children of all ages. Smaller children may need extra reassurance and mental support due to emotional upsets that can affect schoolwork. Concentration and focus are both key aspects when trying to achieve good work and successful learning.
If a child is comfortable, relaxed, and confident, learning is a natural process, unhindered by distraction, upset or emotional distress. Here are some handy tips:
- Independence should be encouraged .
Confident children are more inclined to be confident learners. It is a good idea to dress your kids in easy manageable clothing that does not require any help from an adult (no complicated buttons or stiff zips). Also, if children are encouraged to help pack their own lunch, they are more likely to recognize their lunchbox at school the next day. These are only small actions, but can help a child to feel more relaxed and ‘familiar’ with his or her surroundings, helping the mind to be less anxious and therefore, more focused for school. Labeling your child’s equipment and clothing with their name will help prevent loss, confusion and possible upset for your child. No child can have fun and experience new things when he or she is distraught!
- A change of clothes .
Pre-school can be a messy place! Try to send your child to school with a change of his or her own clothes – in this way children can change into something familiar rather than ‘school clothes’ that the teacher may have on hand. If a child feels terribly out of place or self-conscious, learning and information absorption can be difficult.
- Communication is a two-way street .
You know your child best. Talk to the teacher regularly and keep lines of communication open. In this way you can support your child’s learning, and be involved too. Also, remember to keep your child’s teacher informed of any changes on the home front as certain changes can impact on a child’s emotional and academic well-being (such as the birth of a sibling; moving house; divorce; separation or the death or hospitalization of a loved one).
- Food for thought.
A hungry child is an unhappy child. The classroom can be a very unfriendly place when you are hungry or your tummy rumbles. Always give children a healthy breakfast and a healthy lunch or snack to take with them. Most pre-schools serve a mid-morning snack or lunch – so check with the teacher if your child has any known allergies or food issues. A child who is not well due to food intolerances will find it very difficult to concentrate!
Primary School Tips
A child’s first day at “big school” can be very distressing. It’s a whole new world. Adjustment is key, and it may take a while – every child is different. The important thing is to be there for your children – try to create the best environment for a good education through support (both physically and emotionally). Here are some tips to support learning:
- Talk the talk.
Chat to your children but listen to them too – have informative discussions with your children about school and friends and let them know that if they have any trouble or problems, they can turn to you for advice.
- Comforting routine.
Establish a daily family routine that includes a scheduled time to do homework, eat meals together, perform chores, watch television and go to bed.
Encourage your children to read as often as possible – introduce them to children’s classics (Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, Treasure Island or Charlotte’s Web), children’s magazines, read younger kids a bedtime story and let them read to you, and let them join a library.
- Set limits.
Limit your child’s TV watching to no more than an hour a day (weekdays) and two hours in the weekend and restrict sleepovers to the weekends. Similarly, friends who come around to play should be fetched early enough to leave time for homework.
Maintain contact with your child’s teacher to keep informed about his or her progress – keep your finger on the pulse of what is happening at school.
- After the bell.
Allow your children to challenge themselves by participating in extracurricular activities such as art classes, drama, or sports.
- Early to bed, early to rise…
Primary school children should be getting an average of 10 hours sleep at night in order to support concentration and learning the following day. Lack of sleep is one of the most common causes of learning and behavioral difficulties in the classroom!
Designate a study area that is airy and well lit where your child can focus on his or her homework or studies.
Remove all forms of distractions such as cellphones, television, and video games from the study area. When homework or exams are over, these items can be re-introduced.
Use the services of a tutor or find workbooks and extra study materials for a subject he or she may be struggling with.
Set limits on the amount of time your teen is allowed to socialize and be involved in extramural activities during the school week and during exams – a healthy balance is key, but during exam time social events should be kept to a minimum.
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