It's Elementary My Dear: Helping Your Child Look Forward

It's Elementary My Dear: Helping Your Child Look Forward

by Amanda Formaro
Copyright 2000

>"I hate school!" No parent wants to hear their third grade daughter yellout these words on a regular basis. Your first grader convenientlyforgets to bring home his homework every day of the week. Your 10 yearold daughter complains every morning that she is too tired to go toschool.

These are all very real roadblocks that parents just like you encounteron a daily basis. There are some steps you can take to help your childlook forward to school each day, rather than loathe the mere thought ofit.

Check With The School

% 2B Talk to your child's teacher. Are there behavior issues you are notaware of? Is your child picked on my other students? Does she act out asclass clown? Get involved, set up a meeting with your child's teacher,the Principal and guidance counselor. Discuss the problems you arehaving at home and find out what is happening at school.

% 2B Talk to your child. Ask him if he learned anything new today. Askabout his friends and about the activities on the playground and atrecess. If your child rides the bus, ask where he sits and why. Try tononchalantly get the inside scoop.

% 2B Volunteer if you are able. Your presence alone can sometimes make aworld of difference to your child. If you are too much of a distractionby working in the classroom, then ask if there are ways for you to helpin the office or in other areas. Just knowing you are there can make abig difference.

% 2B Volunteer at home. Yes, you too can do homework and send a positivemessage to your child through your volunteer efforts. There are manyprojects that need to be done for the school that can be accomplished inyour home. Work on these projects after your child arrives home and doyour "homework" together.

Be Positive

It can be extremely trying when a child refuses to cooperate. Try tokeep a positive attitude. Remember who is the grown up and set a goodexample.

% 2B Focus on the things your child did right. If her homework is sloppy,don't criticize the handwriting, instead commend her for completing it.If her clothes don't match, tell her how proud you are of her forgetting ready for school on time, rather than criticizing her fashionblunder.

% 2B Listen to yourself. Are you constantly barking out commands andorders? Do you compliment your child when he is playing nicely with hissiblings? This is such a hard thing to overlook, try to make a point tocompliment your child at least three times a day.

% 2B Check with the teacher to see if there is something your child can doeach day that would encourage her to look forward to school. There maybe a specific job that is available that would make your child feel moreimportant and encourage him to want to go to school. Does his class havea pet mouse or fish? Maybe he can be in charge of feeding and wateringit each day.

Homework Help

If your child seems to be struggling with her homework and doesn't seemto "get it", help break it down into simpler terms.

% 2B Use visuals to help demonstrate how an equation works. For example, ifshe needs to add 3 % 2B 3 % 2B 5, find the designated number of objects andline them up on the table. Use 3 oranges, 3 apples and 5 cans of soup.Ask how many items there are on the table. Then ask how many oranges,how many apples and how many cans of soup.

% 2B If it's reading your child is struggling with, help break larger wordsdown into smaller words. If he is unable to read the word"boysenberries", place your finger over the letters "senberries" and askyour child to read "boy". Then cover "boy" and "berries" and so on.

Learning Disabilities

If you feel your child's frustrations may stem from a learningdisability, talk to the school about observation. Most schools haveeither an in-house psychologist or one that visits the school regularly.Ask to have your child observed while in class. Set up a time to discussthe results with your child's teacher.

Should the results indicate a possible learning disability, be sure toconsult your pediatrician for any medical or professional advice.Testing of ADD, ADHD and Dyslexia are now readily available to parentsand educators.

Listen & Act

Listen to your children. If you here things such as "Who needs to learnbiology anyway?" that may actually mean "This stuff is way over myhead." If they say they "don't get it", don't insist that they do. Findout what the problem is and try to help.

The elementary years of your child's education are vital to the way hewill view school in the future. If you are involved and show that youcare and are not just there to criticize, your child will stand up andnotice.

About the Author

Amanda Formaro is the entrepreneurial mother of four children. She andher husband live in southern Nevada. She is also the owner Magazine at


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