By Sharmon Carrington
Pride Guest Columnist
Parents send their children to school hoping to nurture well rounded students who learn not only from the curriculum, but gain social skills while their performance is graded. However, mentally, they grade their own performance as parents. Now that kids are back at school, here are some more tips to help parents gain an A+ at home, while their kids work towards an A+ at school.
- Ask your child about his/her day at school including teacher and peer interaction: Insist that your child keep you informed of situations taking place in school daily, both in and out of the classroom. It is through these discussions that you will be able to learn more about your child, and any important signs for help for which he/she might otherwise hesitate to ask.
- Remember that children get stressed too: Situations could add to the stress of dealing with schoolwork and your child might have experienced a very stressful day at school. So, make it a necessity to enquire of the day’s activities, and be cognizant of your child’s feelings/moods.
- Make the time to sit with your child and together develop a schedule for schoolwork, visits to the library and places of interest. Television time; free time; time for extra curriculum activities; and household chores must be included in this schedule. Yes, I said, “household chores”. This scheduling exercise must be done together (you and your child), as this would provide an opportunity for you to give guidance, and to allow your child to take responsibility for the early stages of his/her academic life. Besides, if your child learns early about scheduling, he/she would grow up with the much needed organizational and time management skills, required in today’s world and more than likely in the future.
- Ensure that your child gets enough sleep: Having a television in your child’s room could deprive him/her of the necessary sleep required for a high level of concentration and productivity during the day. Select a specific quiet place in the home for your child to do homework assignments, reading and studying. Your child’s bedroom is not the best place for these types of activities, especially if you really want to monitor his/her actions and attitude towards these activities.
- Ensure that you discuss with your child the acceptable conduct on the school bus if this is applicable to him/her: Consequences for unacceptable behaviour, whether it be on the school bus or the public transportation vehicle, must also be discussed. Introduce yourself to the school bus driver, and exchange contact information with him/her. Ask the driver to inform you of any unacceptable behaviour involving your child on the bus. Teach your child to be respectful to the bus driver, who is responsible for the safety of all the children on the bus, and ask the driver to be respectful to your child also, when dealing with him/her. Acceptable behaviour is also required on public transportation vehicles, as these operators are also responsible for the safety of passengers, and respect must be demonstrated towards the other passengers.
- Attend parent/teacher association meetings, and keep yourself involved in every aspect of the school: Also, if the school has a School Council, become a member. Important decisions are made at the school council meetings, as the School Trustees, Principals and/or Vice-Principals are usually in attendance.
- Volunteer to help out the teachers on school trips, when you have a day off from work, or ask a relative or friend to help out in your place: This would not only allow you to observe your child’s overall behaviour and interaction with others, but it will also demonstrate to the teacher, your level of commitment to your child’s education; his/her relationship with the teacher, as well as yours.
- Keep in touch with your child’s teacher regularly: Use this time to enquire of your child’s progress or any difficulties he/she might be experiencing. Inform the teacher to contact you in event of any problematic situations with your child.
- Encourage your child to be a “Leader”: Do this during the early stages of school, and emphasize positive leadership. This would allow your child to develop leadership skills which would eventually be beneficial to him/her in the future. Also, encourage volunteering for class chores.
Some parents may not have the convenience or the flexibility to apply all of these tips. Another article will follow with suggestions to accommodate even the busiest parent.
Sharmon Carrington was a former certified school teacher in Guyana for six years. She previously worked at Health Canada as a Senior Advisor. She is now retired after 34 years of Federal public service, serving in several departments. She is married, has two adult children and was very involved in their education. Sharmon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.