As the new school year is starting, I am shifting from stay-at-home in the summer mom to teacher-mom mode. People ask me what my perspective is about school being a teacher mom a lot, and as my kids get older, I’m noticing the things that I feel like are the most important to help children feel successful at school.
- Read, read, read at home. I know some children like to read more than others, but the more you can read at home, the better. We read fiction, non-fiction, funny books, silly books, books about whatever animals they are interested. Anything at all! Reading to children early is so critical, because it fosters a love for books, and it builds vocabulary immensely.
- Give them time to play. Kids of all ages need some unstructured play time at home where they can just explore, be creative, and play. Extracurriculars are great too, but kids of every age need time to just be. When kids schedules are too full it can make them overly stressed and overwhelmed. During the school year our calendars can fill up so quickly, but down-time and balance is critical for kids emotionally and socially. And younger children need play time because that is such an important part of how they learn and grow!
- Talk positively about school. Kids pick up so much of their perspective about school and education from their parents. In short, they take their cues from us! From the very first day, it’s so important to talk about school positively. There is a greater likelihood of success when parents, teachers, and students all work together with support and respect for each other.
- Let kids know what the routine is for school days. We have a big magnetic calendar on the refrigerator where we write different activities and events coming up. That way any of us can read it at any time and see what is ahead. We also have a routine for mornings and after school that helps the day flow better. Kids love knowing what to expect and what to look forward to. This also helps us talk about activities during that month as a family before they happen.
- Celebrate your child’s success. Throughout the school year, there will be some classes and subjects that are easier than others. Whether school tends to be easy or challenging for your child, celebrate all of their success! It might be a higher grade on a report card or test, giving their all when writing a report, or getting to the next AR level. Whatever it is, celebrate your child’s small successes.
Supporting your child’s education underlies all of these ideas. Here’s to a school year with new and exciting possibilities!