As a parent, your presence in your child’s academics is crucial to their commitment to their school work. With the shift from summer to school year happening, your primary role is to help them focus, focus, FOCUS! Here are some tips to help motivate your child to get back into the swing of things.
Whether it seems like it or not, children do indeed respond well to structure. Let them come home, eat a snack and unwind a little from the school day. Next, set a specific time for them to start their homework in a distraction free environment. Then you can divide big tasks from the smaller ones so they don’t feel overwhelmed.
We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to do homework with your child. Even if you can’t dedicate sitting down with them for an hour or more, just simply focus on letting them know that you’re available to answer any questions. Get in the habit of asking them about what they has learned in school. By demonstrating your interest in your child’s school life, you’re showing that school can be exciting and interesting. This is especially effective with young kids who tend to be excited about whatever you’re excited about.
Playing games that help with focus can improve their attention skills. Choose games and activities that your child finds interesting. For example, making a necklace could help solve math problems by putting one bead at a time on the string, while counting out loud. You can gradually increase your child’s attention by building the necklace with two beads at a time and increase it from there. Don’t forget to add that positive reinforcement and validate their success.
Puzzles are always a great tool! It is best to start by using large puzzle pieces on a small puzzle. Complete the puzzle and leave one piece out so they can place the missing piece. Next time leave out two pieces, and so on. Once they enjoy the activity it will keep them focused for longer periods of time.
Reward your child’s effort, rather than the outcome. The message you want to send to your child is your respect for their hard work. Praising children for following through when things get difficult, for making a sustained effort, for trying things they’re not sure they can do successfully, can all help teach them to always push themselves. Praise for good grades that come easily can make kids feel they shouldn’t have to push themselves.
Last but certainly not least, one of the most important things you can do for your child is to work with their teacher. Their teacher will offer additional insight about how to motivate your child, or what they may be struggling with. You can also share any strategies or information that you have to help improve their classroom behavior. If you’re both using similar tactics, it will help maintain a consistency in the classroom and in the household.
We’d like to wish everyone the best of luck in the new school year!