As parents, you want to do everything you can to help your children succeed. But aside from being supportive and loving, what can you do to help them do better in school? There are actually a number of things you can try - many that don’t even take very much time or effort. However, the thought you put into these activities can result in a smarter, more well-adjusted, happier child. So, take a look at this list, and implement the recommendations you think will work with your little ones.
1. Set aside a ‘learning’ area at home.
By designating an area of your home specifically for study time or schoolwork, your children will have a place to head where concentration and focus are the number one goal. This area should be devoid of distractions (no toys or TV), and should include a comfy place for them to sit down and do their homework or read a book. These study areas can be beneficial for kids to have a clear idea of where to go when they’re ready to work.
2. Teach them to read a map.
Map reading has become a lost art with the invention of GPS, but it’s still a crucial skill for your children to learn. By teaching them directions and basic map-reading, they’ll have a better sense of geography and the locations of the important places around them. Have them help you navigate a new place, and they’ll also gain confidence that they can get around (without a GPS telling them where to go). Want a fun activity involving map reading? Hide some ‘buried treasure,’ then create a map telling your kiddies where to find it. They’ll love the chance to pretend to be pirates!
3. Read to them.
Instilling a love of reading in your children is essential for them to embrace lifelong learning. By reading to them regularly, they’ll learn that reading is important (and something that can actually be fun!). Need ideas on how to get them into the reading scene? Check out the blog we wrote: “5 Ways to Get Your Kids to Love Reading.”
4. Have them teach you what they’re learning in school.
Not sure if your child is truly comprehending what they’re learning in school? Have them teach you a specific lesson. They can break down the important parts of a subject, and you can see if they’re completely understanding the topic. They’ll have fun playing the teacher, and bonus points if you ask questions - they’ll love the chance to be the one who knows the answers!
5. Set strict bedtimes.
Recent studies have shown that a set bedtime is crucial for your child’s development. Children who did not have regular bedtimes had lower scores on tests measuring reading, math, and spatial skills. Set bedtimes can also help regulate your child’s Circadian rhythms (what keeps their body functioning normally). Other studies suggest that children can suffer from emotional problems when they have irregular bedtimes. The National Sleep Foundation suggests children ages 1 to 3 have 12-14 hours of sleep, ages 3 to 5 have 11-13 hours of sleep, and ages 5 to 12 have 10-11 hours of sleep. Set a bedtime for your child, and then stick to it!
6. Have them learn a new language.
Learning a new language is a great way for your child to improve their reading and writing skills. Programs like Little Pim have been proven to work because younger children’s brains are more receptive to learning additional languages. This type of program (available for a lower price with a coupon code) can also help expose your child to new cultures and locations around the globe. An added benefit? Your child will be ahead of the game when they go to take a foreign language class later on in their education.
7. Let them work with money.
To improve your child’s math skills, let them count out money at the grocery store or keep track of what you’re spending while you shop. Instilling an understanding of finances is essential, and they’ll also get to practice their addition and subtraction skills. You might even get your child to have a little more comprehension of what things cost and how fast money can be spent if you’re not careful!
8. Make sample quizzes to study for upcoming tests.
If you want to make sure your student aces that next math or spelling test, make a sample test for them to take at home. They’ll benefit from the extra practice, and you can check their answers to see which areas of the subject are tripping them up. Although this takes a little extra time, you’ll most likely see the positive results after test day.
9. Get them to learn an instrument.
Although studies that said music increases intelligence have been debunked, there are still many advantages for having your child learn an instrument. They’ll learn dedication and that practice can actually result in noticeable improvements. They can also gain an appreciation for the arts and different genres of music. While you can’t expect your child’s cognitive function to improve, they just might find a hobby they’re passionate about.
10. Help them plant a garden.
Planting a garden with your kids can show them a direct example of cause and effect and the life cycle. They’ll also love the excitement they feel when something actually blooms! Even more special is planting vegetables or fruits. You can educate them about healthy eating and get them to eat better, too!