Kas Winters

Kas Winters How to Help Your Child Succeed in School

How to Help Your Child Succeed in School

by Kas Winters, Mother of Family Ideas


Kas Winters

Kas Winters

After a summer without homework and testing pressure, it’s time to get back into a classroom and learning schedule for many students. Some are excited to see friends and get back to school, and others are dreading it. There are some simple things a parent can do to make the transition from summer to school more successful.

There are fairly easy ways to help, but we don’t always think about them. Having breakfast before school makes a child more alert—especially if the food is healthy. Some schools have programs to provide breakfast for students and it does make a difference in their ability to function in the classroom. Getting enough sleep the night before is helpful too. If a child tends to be either over excited or worried about going to school, provide some quiet time before bed. Reading together in the evening is a great way to calm down and rest. It’s one of those habits that pays off in terms of creating a close parent/child relationship too; and comes highly recommended from this mom who has read countless bedtime stories. Laying out clothes, shoes, etc. the night before can avoid the frustration of looking for missing items in the morning. Make it a habit.

Be sure your student has all the tools, books, lunch money, or whatever else is necessary for school. Showing up without something is embarrassing for a student (and rushing to school to bail them out on a regular basis only lets them know they don’t need to be responsible for their own materials, which is not helpful). Older children often understand this this, but younger ones might still need some encouragement. Create a set place for things going to school. Help your student form a habit of putting books, homework, lunch or lunch money, any information that needs to be signed and returned to school, etc. in this spot. This helps to avoid the great search before going out the door, and that is something that starts a day on a frustrated note—a frame of mind that does not usually contribute to a happy day at school. That same location can be used for a student to place papers for a parent to read or sign. Work to make that a habit, without nagging about it.

Having a location and time for homework is another step that encourages success. Look at the schedule for classes, extra-curricular activities and family times and set a regular time for homework (even if it differs for a day or two for special activities). It’s good if a child has time for some sort of physical activity or exercise  before settling down to study. The place for doing homework can be a desk, a table, or other location. It also helps to have resources and tools available there. Keep pencils, pens, erasers, paper, a calculator, dictionary and any other special items a student uses regularly for specific classes. If a computer is being used, it should be handy. Despite protestations, kids get homework done faster and more accurately if the television, computer entertainment, or cell phone are NOT in use during homework time. Music in the background usually works, however blasting it doesn’t help learning or delight parents who are home. Kids can even do things to decorate their study spot such as having favorite photos, encouraging posters, or other treasures on the wall or on the desk, table or countertop.

Getting back to nutrition playing a part in learning, provide healthy snacks at homework time. Fresh fruit, crunchy vegetables, and something other than a sugary drink will help them focus on the tasks at hand.

If your child takes a lunch to school, surprise them with an occasional note that lets them know they are loved and that you are thinking about them. Put a photo in with their lunch. It might be a recent one with a friend, a snapshot taken at a summer vacation spot, one of the two of you together, or of your child doing something that’s fun. Stickers are a nice surprise and other little “dollar store” items can be put in to delight your child. Make it fun—at least occasionally.

When you reconnect with your child after school, talk about what they learned, what they liked, and if there were any problems during the day. Be excited about the good stuff and offer a few solutions that might help with any challenges. Keep lines of communication open.

Let your child see you read. That sounds simple. It makes a difference. They accept reading as part of life and when they observe it as something you do regularly, it will more easily become a good habit of theirs.

For August family activity suggestions go to: http://www.everythingfamily.net/augustholidays.htm For thousands of family activity ideas, check out my book, Motherlode: The Ultimate Collection of Ideas for Keeping Kids Busy, at: http://www.everythingfamily.net/motherlode.htm. For more ideas for student success, I recommend a book by an educator, Sally D. Ketchum. The title is “Super Student/Happy Kid! and it is available at: http://www.everythingfamily.net/superstudent.htm


Kas Winters, “Mother of Family Ideas”

Winmark Communications & Everything Family