In the United States school system the grades kindergarten through the sixth grade are often called the Elementary Grades. These are a child’s first years of school, the beginning of their education process. It is important that our kids begin with some good and solid learning habits that will help them all through their school career.
As parents we will set the standard of study for our children. They will not automatically learn and incorporate everything the teacher pours out to them. The following are some points to consider as our small children enter the world of school life.
• Respect the teacher. Our children’s teachers will be the first adults, other than grandparents, that have some authority over them. This may be confusing for the child if he or she does not like what the teacher is telling them to do, or if they have a personality clash.
But as the parent we need to be impartial and not take sides against the teacher or against the child. If our kids hear us complain about a teacher, it will cause them great confusion and an excuse to ignore the teachers instructions.
• Set up a good homework environment. Find a spot in your home or study that will be the consistent place for homework. The child’s bedroom may be too distracting, but if it is away from the TV it will do. Help your child concentrate by eliminating as many distractions as possible. Have school supplies ready.
• Create a homework chart. Adding stars to an easy to read chart can be very encouraging to a young child. The feeling of accomplishment will carry into the classroom and make your child a better student.
• Have a consistent homework time set up. Decide what time your child’s homework should be done. Will they work after dinner but before TV? Or do you want them to finish their homework immediately after school and before they go out to play? Choose a rule about weekend homework, do it on Friday or let them wait until Sunday night? Be consistent.
• Reward the report card or punish the report card? Some families set up a pay scale for grades received on report cards. They give money for high grades and less for low grades. Others take away privileges according to bad grades received. Kids are not allowed video time or dessert after dinner for disappointing grades. As the parent you can choose which way to mark how your child is doing on his or her report card. Each child is different and some respond better to encouragement than to punishment.
School will be a very large part of your life and the lives of your children for many years to come. If you are able to start them off with good habits, it will be less of a battle and more of an adventure.