When it comes to maximising your child’s learning potential preparation is key and this starts at home.
Starting back at school after a long summer holiday can often bring many challenges. Children have no doubt had ample opportunities to play, travel and stay up late, and it is now time for them to get back into their school routine and formulate good habits, to help lay the foundation for a happy and successful year ahead.
A child’s first and most important teacher is his or her parents and it is proven that when parents are involved in their child’s schooling, then children do better and have a more positive attitude towards learning. Consistency is the key to instilling positive links between school-home so it is vital that right from the outset, a strong relationship is formed between parents and school.
Set boundaries and encourage good behaviour
Young children need guidance and boundaries to develop their key personal skills and to learn about what behaviour is acceptable and what isn’t. In mastering this understanding, children will discover that there are many benefits to acting in a positive manner. Make sure as a parent that you fully understand the school’s behaviour policy to ensure there are commonalities between what’s happening at school and what’s happening at home. It’s hard for teachers to imprint expectations if children have entirely different consequences for behaviour at home and school. Remember to focus on positive behaviour and praise your child when they make a good choice.
Independence and Problem Solving
Encouraging children to be independent and problem solve has exceptional benefits. The easiest way to encourage this at home is to give your child opportunities to do things by themselves and when they communicate a small problem they have you can ask them to try and solve it on their own. By doing so you are opening up their mind and helping to instil independence. You can also help to promote this by listening to your child’s ideas and responding to them, whether this be whilst reading a book or whilst out shopping. By helping to encourage active learning, it is likely that your child’s interest in school activities will increase and they will become more confident. It is also important for your child to see that you are interested in what they are doing and how they are feeling about their learning experience.
Read with your children
Reading stories together with your child can have so many positive benefits. By reading with your child daily, it helps to develop their love for reading as well as their language and listening skills. If your child is too young to read by themselves, look at pictures in books and discuss what’s happening. Ask about the colours, who’s in the pictures and ask them to predict what might happen. Opening up a dialogue is a fundamental part of enriching understanding and enquiry-based learning.
Keep children active and healthy
Today, research shows that physical activity in children is more important than ever. Movement stimulates growth and leads to improved physical and emotional health it is therefore essential to encourage participation in physical activity from an early age. Try enrolling your child in activity sessions outside of school but remember not to over-stretch them. In addition to this, ensure that your child has a healthy- balanced diet and that they get a good night’s sleep every night, so that they start each day refreshed and ready to learn.
Monitor your child’s television and tablet use Children are spending more time watching television or on tablets. Whilst there are some wonderful applications available to assist with learning, always monitor what your child is doing and limit the amount of time that they spend on devices. Television and tablets should not be used as a tool for encouraging sleep. Don’t let your child have access to the television or tablets, for at least one hour prior to going to sleep as the lights, sound and illustration can stimulate their minds too much, interrupting their body’s preparation for sleep.
With thanks to Principal Trish King, Smart Start Kindergarten.