How To Ensure The Academic Success Of Your Kid?

Sayudh Sarkar | Thu, 21 May 2015 06:40:15 +0000 | Story Time for Kids

Much has been already documented about the increasingly fierce levels of competition among present-generation children, as far as their academic performances are concerned. A recent American Psychological Association (APA) report revealed that close to 46% students (kids and teens combined) admitted to feeling ‘pressurized’ by their school assignments, homework and related stuff. Add to that the lofty and (unfortunately) often unrealistic expectations of parents, and it won’t be tough to understand the plight of the little ones. All of this is not necessary though, since a steady academic performance and a general interest of children in studies can be fostered by following a few simple, systematic steps. Avoid stressing out your kid, and follow these pointers to encourage his/her learning process from an early age:

  1. Encourage your child to read – It’s not that sweet madam at the kindergarten school who is your child’s first teacher. The onus lies on you to build an early interest inside him/her to read up things and learn about new stuff – from months before (s)he starts attending nursery school. You can read fantasy storybooks to your son/daughter, teach her to write the English alphabets, and tell him fun tales from your own childhood. There are also plenty of free mobile storytelling apps for kids that you can install in your smartphone, and encourage your son/daughter to use.
  2. Choose a good school – The most expensive school for kids need not necessarily be the best. Talk with other parents (who can be your neighbors, colleagues, or even casual acquaintances) about good kindergartens in your city. Most of these schools have their own websites too – so a couple of hours of online search can also help you shortlist the names of 3-4 junior schools for your kid. Get in touch with their representatives, find out about their in-house setup and teaching facilities, and choose the best one among them.
  3. Establish certain ground rules at home – It’s a fine line between being a strict-yet-loving parent, and coming across as a veritable ‘Hitler dad/mom’. Lay down certain basic rules at home that your child has to follow – like not watching television after a certain point of time at night, not staying glued to mobile games for kids at the lunch table, and be sincere about his/her school homework. Avoid rebuking your child too roughly, even if (s)he flouts these rules a couple of times. You need to gradually make him/her understand that following these rules is for his/her own good.
  4. Keep up the motivation levels – Okay, face this – you cannot expect a 4-year old child to think about his/her career, and pursue studies accordingly. Child psychologists and kindergarten trainers feel that small kids feel more motivated by the prospect of getting small rewards. Give small, token prizes (soft toys, balloons, comic books etc.) to your son/daughter, every time (s)he does well at school and/or follows the disciplinary rules you have established at home. In general, praise your kid – directly, as well as in front of others – whenever you feel the little one has earned it. That will build the self-esteem of your kid, and spur him/her on to do even better in future.
  5. Do not take on your child’s tasks – Things like homeworks and assignments are meant for your child – and you are not supposed to solve them (yep, even when the kid is not being able to work them out on his/her own). The maximum you can do is help out a couple of times – but if your child’s struggles continue, you will need to get in touch with his/her teacher, discuss whatever problems (s)he might be facing, and find out probable solutions. The more you lovingly complete your child’s homework – the more you make him/her dependant on you. In the long-run, that is definitely not a smart thing to do!
  6. Make sure your child is well-prepared for school – Just as class preparation is necessary for teachers, getting ready to attend school is important for a child too (otherwise, there is every chance that your kid will not be able to keep up with what is being taught in class). There is no dearth of online study resources and educational apps for kids – from which kids can gather some knowledge in advance about the topic that would be discussed at school the next day. Raising the hand and being able to answer the teacher’s questions in class would boost the confidence of your li’l darling.
  7. Designate a proper study space at home – Many teenagers might it easier to roam about while studying or memorizing something. For small kids though, it is not that simple to avoid distractions. That’s precisely why there should be a certain place in your house, which will serve as the ‘study place’ (if possible, you can have an entire study room for your child). Make sure that your son/daughter won’t be disturbed by the everyday household conversations (in any case, try to speak in low volumes when your kid is studying). Irrespective of whether your child is reading a physical textbook or browsing through learning apps for kids – that ‘study place’ is where your child should be at.
  8. Do not be overly bothered about grades – Yes, finding that your sweet little kid has bagged an ‘A’ in all subjects is nice – but that should not be the sole parameter of gauging a child’s academic performance. At times, the best efforts might not be good enough to top at an exam. As long as it is clear that your son/daughter is being sincere and giving his/her all while studying, there is no reason whatsoever of scolding him/her. In a class, not everyone can come first – what you should look for is a steady performance from your child.
  9. Encourage healthy habits – Unless you follow a healthy lifestyle, it is well-nigh impossible to concentrate on your professional life – many of you have already felt that, right? The same goes for your child. Make sure that (s)he has balanced meals at regular times, does not stay awake fiddling with video games and/or iPhone apps for kids till late at night (many of these have parental controls), brushes teeth regularly, and follows general hygiene standards. If you feel that your kid is being bothered by a health issue, have a frank chat with him/her – and ask about the discomforts (s)he is facing. A healthy, eager-to-learn mind can reside only in a healthy body – you simply cannot be negligent about the latter.
  10. Tell your kid to be inquisitive – If your kid is of a generally shy disposition, this is particularly important. Anything you, or the kindergarten teacher, or any other person says should not be accepted by him/her at face value (and no, that is not a form of politeness). In fact, the question ‘Why?’ should always be at the tip of the tongue of a kid who wishes to learn more and find out things for him/herself. Apart from classroom studies, there are loads to learn from everyday happenings around us – encourage your child to be curious about everything. The more (s)he will ask, the more (s)he will know.
  11. Introduce him to technology – We have already touched upon the usefulness of children’s applications and online study resources. During his/her spare time too, teach your little one how to look up information about anything on the internet, so that (s)he can do some DIY learning. Familiarize him/her with the basic features of smartphones/tablets as well – and download a few good digital storybooks for your kid to read. On most reading apps for kids, these are available via in-app purchases.
  12. Understand your child’s knack – Not every child is meant to become a doctor, an engineer, an IT professional, or such other supposedly ‘high-brow’ professionals. Your kid might have a knack for drawing and painting, singing, acting, and such other slightly ‘off-the-beaten-track’ activities. As long as his/her general studies are not being significantly hampered, never try to stop your son/daughter from doing what (s)he loves. In fact, you should be the one to encourage your child to take up, and be passionate about, a hobby.
  13. Understand the importance of parent-teacher meetings – There are many parents who feel that such meetings are basically ‘a day wasted’. Nothing can possibly be further than the truth. These meetings are great opportunities for you and your partner to interact with your kid’s tutors, inquire about his/her classroom behavior, and get valuable tips on how you can make your child academically more successful. With most leading play schools and kindergartens adopting basic education technology methods (projectors, iPad apps for kids, powerpoint presentations, video storytelling, etc.), you can also learn about the way in which such sophisticated learning methods can be implemented at home. Getting acquainted with the teacher(s) is also a good thing. Do not be absent from these meetings – that would be akin to being not serious about your kid’s studies.
  14. Spend time with your child – This one is the most important. Even if you get the most expensive toys and gifts, purchase the latest video games and the best iPhone apps for kids, and generally pamper your child – (s)he will always crave for your attention, to spend time with you. No matter how busy your professional life might be, this simple yet vital need of kids should never be put on the backburner. Have meals together, be around while your son/daughter is studying, tuck him/her up in bed, and plan weekend outings. Your child should never feel alone – your care for him/her needs to be genuine.

If your kid is struggling with any particular subject, consider hiring a tutor for him/her (only if you cannot provide the necessary guidance). Try building a sense of responsibility in him/her, by giving him/her small errands. Being a responsible parent is no rocket science, and it certainly does not involve putting undue pressure on little kids!

 

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