As parents, we know that it’s beneficial to play a more active role in our kid’s education. After all, research shows that parental engagement improves academic achievement, reduces absenteeism, and improves social skills among other benefits. That’s why schools like Canadian International School (CIS) make it a point to work closely with parents in a parent-teacher partnership. But having said that, how do you play a more active role without becoming a helicopter parent? Here are a few tips:
Read to your kids at home
You know what they say: reading is the best way to gain knowledge and you imprint on your child the joy (and value) of reading when you are an avid reader yourself. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has been recommending reading to your kids since 2014 because of all the benefits it brings to the family. Studies show that children who are read to (especially before they start school) enjoy stronger bonds with their parents as well as pick up important language and literacy skills.
In other words, start ‘em young and your kids would have a solid foundation for the rest of their lives.
Share the joy of learning
Kids inevitably mirror what adults around them do so why not use it as a force for good? When you show that learning is fun, your kids will naturally take to it like a fish to water. Consistency is the key to positive parenting because “do as I say but not what I do” is likely to backfire on you. Kids are able to recognise inconsistency and the effectiveness of your teaching will diminish when your words and actions don’t match.
So lead by example! Life won’t make it easy but as long as you remain committed to learning and developing yourself as an individual every day, your kid will learn from your positive attitude.
A family that learns together stays together
What better way to improve family bonds than learning together? You don’t necessarily have to have all the answers. In fact, the joy of discovering things together could very well bring your parent-child relationship to another level! Take your child to the museum, do research on a pet topic, or even work on a science project together. No matter what you choose to learn as a family, the point is creating a fun and warm environment in which your kid is not afraid to explore and ask important questions. Not sure where to begin? There are plenty of online resources that you can tap on for fun learning ideas.
Much better than staying home on the weekends watching TV or playing computer games, right?
Make everyday activities a learning experience
Sometimes the fun in learning comes from everyday activities such as grocery shopping or even eating at the hawker centre. You can ask your kid to identify certain vegetables or meat, calculate the cost of an item at a certain weight or even total up the cost of eating a family meal in a restaurant. Anything can be a learning opportunity, so keep a lookout for them instead of staring at your phone.
Show your kids how to find the answers
As kids grow older and their homework becomes progressively challenging, parents may find it hard to help out. But don’t let it stop you from lending a hand! Instead of simply outsourcing your kids’ problems to a tutor or tuition centre, why not imbue them with the skills to find out the answers themselves? Whether it’s with the help of the Internet or library research, nothing beats the satisfaction of finding out the answers to a difficult question. On top of that, you would have taught your kids valuable learning skills that they can use beyond their schooling years.
Check in with your kid’s school/teacher regularly
Teachers are the best allies when it comes to getting involved in your kid’s education. Build a positive relationship by engaging with them regularly and take advantage of the parent-teacher conferences. Find out the best times and modes to communicate with them and don’t wait till something has escalated before communicating about it. Remember to show your appreciation while keeping professional boundaries. Teachers are skilled professionals who deserve our respect and saying ‘thank you’ can go a long way.
Fill your home with educational tools and toys
Last but not least, invest in educational tools and toys for your kids! It doesn’t have to be expensive, just creative and open-ended enough (like art supplies) so your kids can explore however they want in STEAM projects, artistic endeavours or even entrepreneurship!
As you can probably tell by now, getting actively involved in your kids’ education is a long term commitment with no money back guarantee. But here’s one thing we can guarantee. When you play a more active role in your kid’s education from an early age, you lay the foundations for a positive, healthy and lifelong learner.