Q: How can I help my child do well in school?
A: Our children learn from us. They learn to be curious and to strive for the best or to accept the easiest route. They learn to be active participants in their own lives or to passively accept whatever is the path of least resistance. If you want your children to become the best they can be, your job from the very earliest age is to encourage active learning.
Active learning includes asking questions about whatever is going on in your child’s day at the moment. Encouraging them to think of alternatives and choices rather than just telling them what to do or how to do it. Active learning encourages the child to anticipate possible outcomes of various courses or action. “What do you think might happen next if you do this?” is the kind of question you might ask to encourage this thinking. Read to your children and encourage them, by doing it with them, to research words and ideas that they are unfamiliar with or want further information on. Whether on-line or hard copy, dictionaries and encyclopedias will enrich a child’s knowledge, curiosity and vocabulary.
Our children also learn their values and goals from us. Talk about your hopes and ideals. As you are carrying out a job, talk about how you strive to do your best rather than accept a poor effort. Describe your thought processes about why you work hard and how you plan ahead and what you anticipate as the result of your efforts. Establish realistic, consistent family rules regarding work around the house, encouraging schedules and stable family routines. Encourage your children to be part of some family decisions and let them see the positive and negative results of their various decisions.
Listen to your children and pay attention to their problems and concerns. Read with them; tell family stories; share favorite experiences, songs, books and poetry. Explore nature by going on walks and then looking up things you have seen. Show an interest in their schoolwork by reviewing homework and meeting with teachers. Encourage their future by talking about the wide range of careers available, exploring how people come to those careers, including what education and skills are needed. Broaden your children’s horizons rather than closing doors by letting your children know that anything is possible.