What Can I Do to Help My Child at Home (Parent’s Point of View)?
All advice is well and good until you try and implement it in your own home!
So as a parent, I get that. And whether we’re in the classroom or at home, we must adapt all things to meet the needs of our audience. KNOW YOUR CHILD. So my advice from a parent’s point of view takes into account attitudes, behaviors and resistance. Here are some things to remember and consider as you support your learner at home.
Change is good but change is hard. Don’t lock your kid in their room and force them to read for 30 minutes or else. Try 10 minutes. Or try reading to them if they’re reluctant to pick up the book themselves. If a kid resists the time management structure you implement, adapt and try again.
Experiment with any and all reading genres. Don’t feel like unless they’re reading Harry Potter in the third grade or the literary canon in high school they’re not going to excel. Let them read graphic novels, ghost mysteries, or unicorn glitter books if that’s what they desire. Once you hook a reader and sell them on the proposition of reading as pleasurable, you can only go up from there.
Dangle the reward in their face. Kids don’t respond as well to a reward that’s at the end of the week to one that’s an hour or two away. Get creative. My son loves to listen to music in the shower. We use that as an incentive to finish homework. My kids also respond best to rewards that are not things, like a family game of Uno. Whatever you decide, make the reward imminent!
Independence takes time: Sometimes I model for my child. Sometimes that modeling requires heavier involvement than I’d like. But little by little I take myself out of the equation. And if I have to reinsert myself, that’s ok too. Kids make progress and regress, just like adults.
Example: My son had to read for 20 minutes/night and fill in a complicated reading log. I asked him to read and I took care of the log. After some time, we filled it in together. Now he fills it in on his own with a reminder. Baby-steps.
MAKE LEARNING PART OF LIFE
- Be specific. Never say: ‘What did you learn in school today?’ if you want to get a good response, ask things like:
- What are you reading as a class?
- Did you like that story? Why or why not?
- Why did your teacher make you show your work on the test?
- How come you’re setting goals as a school?
Be the change you want to see. If you want your child to be more interested in reading, let them see you reading. If you want them to be more cerebral, go to the museum as a family.
Share out loud with intention. You know your kids are eavesdropping! Let them hear your discussions with another adult about a current event or your book-club book (if it’s appropriate!) Find ways to insert your own love of learning into the dialogue at home.
Make learning something that’s not isolated to school. Do science experiments at home. Build together. Make learning part of your identity.
Remember, there are no simple, magic, snap-your-fingers fixes. Progress in learning is a long game with lots of trial and error.
Have patience for your child and YOURSELF.