Helping Children Succeed: 9 Ways to Enhance Your Child’s Education Outside the Classroom
Every parent wants their child to be a success in school. In today’s world that isn’t always easy to do. It seems like everyone has ideas about how you should be parenting.
Helping your children succeed in school doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, it can be fun, as well as help with school when they get there.
Check out these nine ways to foster education at home. Encourage imagination, play, and curiosity.
Use these great ideas to help your children succeed at school
Encourage and Embrace Curiosity
We’ve all the experienced the toddler who repeatedly says, “Why?” Then, “Why?” again. As parents that continuous litany of questions can feel frustrating. Instead of succumbing to the frustration, embrace the natural curiosity that comes from toddlers and kids.
They innately want to know things. Fuel that curiosity, instead of shutting it down.
Model being a curious person for your kids. Wonder out loud about things you might not know about.
Turn the tables on them by asking open-ended questions. Encourage them to think more about ideas, concepts and the world around them. Ask them the questions so they begin to wonder too. Curiosity drives the desire to learn.
Read, Read and Read Some More
Kids who are read to are kids who become readers. Research has shown that kids who are read to at a young become successful readers themselves.
I know I feel like groaning when my kids bring the same book we’ve read every night for the last two weeks. But I read it anyway. Hearing stories, even ones they have memorized, sparks imagination.
Once kids can read on their own, continue to read to them.
My husband and son spent valuable time working their way through all the Harry Potter books well into the middle school years. Discovering a magical world of Harry Potter together was invaluable to their relationship. The value went way beyond the reading with discussion and non-confrontational quality time.
Even if you don’t have lots of books. Take advantage of the public library. They offer free book checkout and a wide array of programs for kids of all ages.
Resist the urge to rely on technology. Encourage playtime for kids of all ages. It fosters imagination. It allows them to act out life situations they might encounter later on. Let their play characters act out relationships and conversations.
Imaginative play encourages your child to think. This thinking will fuel their learning at school.
Exposure to Culture
Give your child the gift of culture. Children in school get a limited opportunity to experience the arts. Much less than a decade ago. Any introduction you can provide will encourage further exploration.
Visit art museums or galleries. Ask them what art they like and why.
Go to concerts. Even summer concerts in the local park give them exposure to a variety of music and instruments. If you are lucky enough to have a local symphony or ballet company, take them to a matinee performance.
Take advantage of local museums to study history. Enjoy nature and the outdoors. Point out the beauty of nature, so they too will begin to notice.
Visit the local zoo. Let them take photos of their favorite animals. Then come home and look them up to learn even more about their background.
Have Real Conversations
There are kids in schools across America who don’t know how to have conversations with adults. They have engaged in technology for much of their lives and lack social and conversational skills.
When kids have the skills to have conversations, it carries over to school. They know how to interact with their adult teachers. It fosters their ability to advocate for themselves as needed.
Babies’ brains start to process language long before they can speak themselves. Talk to them early on to foster that process.
Conversations over the dinner table about real-life topics introduces the concept of understanding others’ points of view. Ask your children what they think about topics and interact accordingly.
Give your child’s experiences out in the world. Don’t fret. These don’t have to be expensive trips or vacations.
Visit local attractions for day trips. Opportunities to experience places, people and real life broaden their understanding of the world. Inexpensive options include:
- picnicking in a local park
- the playground
- area walking or bike trails
- local festivals
Passions and Interests
My daughter was born loving horses. She had a kind of kindred connection to them. If I am being honest, after a less than favorable childhood experience, they scared the wits out of me. I thought she would be a dancer or a runner or a cheerleader.
She wanted to ride horses. And that was that. It’s how I overcame my fear and she followed her passion. The life lessons she learned over the hours and days and years she spent at the barn was beyond measure.
She wouldn’t have liked dancing, but she loved those horses. We let her passion take the lead on how she spent her free time.
Allow your child to explore their interests until they find the thing they’re passionate about. It might be soccer, it might be building model cars. It might be football or painting or building robots. If they feel passion for their hobbies, they will get all those valuable life lessons that come with it.
Children’s brains come hard-wired for only a few emotions. Empathy is not one of them. This is an emotion they need to learn. They get empathy went it is modeled for them and taught to them.
Accepting other people and their differences is important for helping children succeed in school. Doing things for others, participating in service to others is key for kids to learn empathy.
The value of kids doing community service is beyond measure. Many high schools now require some form of community service as part of their graduation requirements for that reason.
A young child who serves others can learn empathy and more. Responsibility, determination, hard work, and socialization skills are just the beginning.
Teach your child about community service by volunteering with them. Let them learn about an organization that they can be involved with and help. Let them see the value of their efforts paying off for someone beyond themselves.
Be a Contributor
Teaching kids about hard work and responsibility pays dividends when they have work to do at school.
Teach them to contribute to your household. Hold them accountable so the things they do matter for the household. It might mean at a young age they carry the laundry. Emptying the dishwasher, setting the table, wiping down bathroom counters are contributions and teach responsibility.
Make the jobs appropriate for their age. Make sure they understand it isn’t a chore, but a contribution to making your household run smoothly and they are a part of it. Children in school learn will benefit from that early set of skills connected to responsibility.
Helping Children Succeed: Be Involved
These ideas will help you mold your child for their future in school. Helping children succeed does not have to be a chore. Use these ideas and made them fun. It will foster a positive relationship for you and help your child at school later on.
Want more parenting ideas and advice? Check out our parenting blog for other great tips and ideas.