by Jim Grant
This is the single most important secret to school success. A child must be ready socially, emotionally, and physically, as well as intellectually, for school. Make certain that your child is ready for the grade in which he or she is placed. Simply being alive the correct number of years is not enough to ensure that your child is ready for school. It is the child’s developmental age, not chronological age that helps determine school success.
Children who are emotionally and physically distracted have a difficult time coping with schools demands. See that your child starts the day well rested with a well-balanced breakfast. A substantial breakfast fuels the brain, and your child will think, socialize, and perform better. Many children in Kindergarten and First Grade still require a day-time nap and between nine to eleven hours of sleep each night.
Dress your child to fit comfortably with classmates. Children who look out of place often feel out of place and may be treated like outcasts by their peers.
As your child leaves for school, send him/her off in upbeat, optimistic mood. Avoid before-school arguments, as they can set a negative tone for the entire day. Children who have a sense of emotional well-being benefit the most.
Children always tell us who they are and what they need. Body language signals trouble long before a child can talk about it. Some children show stress through crying, nail-biting, nervous tics, becoming withdrawn, acting in insecure ways, reverting to thumb sucking, or through behavior that is out of character. As a parent, you know your child better than anyone else. Tune in to stress signs so you can prevent school stress before it starts.
Children who lack confidence, who have a poor opinion of themselves, may lack the motivation to succeed in school. Parents can help. Boost your child’s confidence! Praise your child in front of others. Build on strengths, not weaknesses! Never compare your child with others!
A child who is read to, will read. Children naturally love books and love to be read to. Reading together will show your child the importance of reading and will provide a special time for you to spend together each day. This will develop a positive attitude and sense of security.
You are your child’s primary role model. Your child tries to be like you by imitating you. If you think something is important, your child will think too.
Take an active interest in your child’s work. See that your child has a designated place and time to work. Set aside time to assist your child on homework and projects. By taking time to help, you display an interest that is extremely important in shaping your child’s attitudes and values.
Be an active participant. Keep the lines of communication open. When you form a close working relationship with the school, your child has a solid support system to build on. Your child receives a strong message of solidarity from the most important adults in his or her life – the child’s own parents and their daytime parents, teachers.
These seven secrets to school success are common-sense principles that will really help your child. Try them. They’re simple – and they work!