While many factors will influence how children perform in school during this fall, one of the most important factors is parental support. Showing your children that you’re excited about and supportive of their educational journeys, despite the added stress of COVID-19, will greatly influence how they react to their altered schooling this fall.
There are multiple ways parents can be involved in their children’s schooling. Starting elementary school can be a nerve-wracking experience for both parents and children. Being prepared can be invaluable for making the transition easier. Here are five ways to help your children succeed in elementary school:
Communicate with Their Teachers
Even if you’re able to send your children to school in person, you shouldn’t decrease your level of involvement in the learning process, especially for children heading into kindergarten. Most schools host back-to-school events and encourage parents and children to attend. These events allow parents to meet teachers and staff and build rapport around shared expectations. It also shows your child you are excited for their new journey.
Throughout the year, expect to attend at least one parent-teacher conference. These meetings serve as a way to communicate formally about a student’s performance. They help teachers communicate better with parents and let children know they have an entire team working to ensure their academic success. Conferences are also helpful for identifying issues like learning disabilities or behavioral concerns, which can help parents take the necessary steps to address these issues.
Parent-teacher meetings are undoubtedly helpful but they only happen a few times during the school year. Luckily, these meetings are not the only opportunity for parents to communicate with teachers. You can check on your children’s performance at any time during the school year. Teachers should provide contact information so that parents can reach them to express any questions or concerns.
Establish and Follow a Routine
Transitioning to elementary school causes a change in schedule that can be unnerving to a small child, even if it’s 100 percent or partially virtual. You can prepare children for this adjustment by establishing a routine a few months or weeks before school begins. Having a set bedtime, time for homework, mealtimes, and bedtime are just a few adjustments that provide structure for children and will teach them a new level of responsibility.
You may not always need to assist your children with schoolwork. However, sitting with them while they work on it can show your child that you are ready to help and support them if they need it. There are other activities that you can implement during time off from school that will keep them in a routine and reinforce skills that they are learning in school.
Setting ground rules during the school year shows kids you are as serious about their academic performance as their instructor. Taking away electronics while homework is being done is an effective way to teach your child how to prioritize their activities. Unless necessary for the homework, implementing technology rules at home will keep your child focused.
Have an older child? Allowing them to be involved can also keep them on track. Have your child keep track of assignments and exams to show them the importance of studying and give them a level of control over their learning.
Stay Up-to-Date on School Events
Staying up-to-date is easier than ever thanks to the electronic communication tools that modern schools offer for both parents and students. Most primary schools provide parents and students with access to newsletters and calendars. These provide timely information on different school events, testing days, and field trips.
Keeping track of the tools available can facilitate your involvement as well as your child’s participation. The more interest you show, the more likely that your child will follow your lead and also express interest in their school and the activities provided.
Teach Them to Make Studying a Habit
Studying is a skill that should be taught early on. Getting your children in the habit of studying can keep them prepared. Promoting good study habits early on will also influence all aspects of their life going forward.
An easy way to get kids used to studying is to work it into their afterschool routine. Ideally, as they get older, you won’t have to micromanage or force your children to study.
In primary or early elementary school, weekly tests are uncommon, but students at this grade level typically have tests at the end of a unit. By making sure your kids are studying regularly, they will perform better on end-of-unit assessments. Not only that, but your children will be more confident going into exams if they took the time to study in advance.
Keep in mind that studying can be exhausting at times. In addition, splitting up the time spent on each section helps kids retain information. Setting a time to take a break will motivate children to keep studying and make it seem less daunting, especially at this age.
Set Them up for Success
When children are provided with the proper tools and support from teachers and school staff, their transition into elementary school will be less stressful. The habits that are created early on will transfer into the rest of their academic career, so implementing the correct strategies will help them remain confident throughout their educational journey.
Above all, having a game plan on how to make your child’s first few years in elementary school a success is critical, especially with range of distance learning techniques schools have implemented due to COVID-19.
Do you have more questions about kindergarten readiness? Check out some of our additional resources below or find a location near you.