Quick Links

Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Main Navigation

Top

Parenting Skills - Elementary

Home > breadcrumbs: Parents and Students > breadcrumbs: Parenting Skills > breadcrumbs: Parenting Skills - Elementary >

Working...

Ajax Loading Image

 

Parenting Skills from the Parent Institute ~ Elementary

Elementary School ~ January

http://www.parent-institute.com/nl/deliver.php?issueID=elemjan15&itemID=112273

 

Elementary School ~ December

http://www.parent-institute.com/nl/deliver.php?issueID=elemdec14&itemID=111619

 

Elementary School ~ November

http://www.parent-institute.com/nl/deliver.php?issueID=elemnov14&itemID=110965

 

Elementary School ~ October

http://www.parent-institute.com/NL/deliver.php?issueID=elemoct14&itemID=110311

 

Elementary School ~ September

http://www.parent-institute.com/NL/deliver.php?issueID=elemsep14&itemID=109655

 

Elementary School ~ May

 Help your child maintain a love of learning this summer

 Even if your child complains about school, chances are he loves learning. Here are some ways to spark your child's interest in learning all summer long:

 

  • Make time to talk. Studies have shown that when families talk often about many subjects, kids have higher IQs. Look for opportunities to talk with your child, such as during meals or in the car.
  • Support your child's interests. For example, if your child loves playing the guitar, read books about the instrument, go to a free concert, or encourage him to write to a famous guitarist.
  • Try a new activity you can do with your child, such as a sport. Choose something he's excited about. Show how interested you are in learning, improving and not giving up.
  • Become tourists in your own town. Check out an exhibit at your city's science center, art museum or library. Explore a different trail at a local park. (Or even hike a familiar trail at an odd time.) Whatever you do, try to see your "same old town" through fresh eyes.
  • Start your own book club. Let your child pick a book. Read it together and then set a date to talk about it. Suggest that he include some of his friends.
  • Set an example by learning more about the things you love. If you enjoy cooking, for instance, take a cooking class, check out a cookbook at the library, or try new recipes. Invite your child to help.

 

Reprinted with permission from the May 2014 issue of Parents make the difference!® (Elementary School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2014 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc.

 

 

Are you helping your child prepare for year-end tests?

 The end of the year often means lots of tests for students. Are you helping your child get ready to face those important tests? Answer yes or no to the questions below to find out:

 

___1. Do you write down test dates on your family calendar and avoid planning big activities on the day before a test?

 

___2. Do you encourage your child to study a little each day instead of cramming the night before a test? Research shows this is the best way to learn and remember facts.

 

___3. Do you make sure your child gets a good night's sleep and eats a healthy breakfast before a big test?

 

___4. Do you encourage your child to wear comfortable clothing and dress in layers on test days?

 

___5. Do you tell your child that you have confidence in her and know she will give her best effort?

 

How well are you doing?

 

Mostly yes answers mean you're giving your child the support she needs to do her best on tests. For no answers, try those ideas.

 

Reprinted with permission from the May 2014 issue of Parents make the difference!® (Elementary School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2014 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc.

 

 

How to handle situations that often result in school absences

 Your child woke up late and can't get going. Your sitter is sick and you have nowhere to leave your younger kids.

 

Things like this happen all the time. Parents wonder if going to school is all that important--especially as the school year draws to a close.

 

The answer is yes. Attending school is important--right up to the very last day. In fact, kids who miss a lot of school--even in the early grades--are more likely to drop out. They have more problems learning material that will help them succeed.

 

One school district asked families why their kids missed school. Here are their top answers and some ways you can deal with those problems:

 

  1. He feels sick. If your child doesn't have a fever and isn't showing signs of sickness (vomiting, coughing, diarrhea), he can probably go to school. If you do keep him home, don't make it a vacation. A child who is too sick to go to school is too sick to watch TV, text friends or play on the computer.
  2. He just won't get up. Make his bedtime earlier. Help him get ready for school the night before.
  3. You need him at home to help with younger kids. If you work and need child care, be sure to have a plan if your sitter gets sick. Are there friends or family who will agree in advance to help in an emergency? A child shouldn't miss school to care for younger kids.
  4. He's worried. Talk with your child. Is it a test that worries him? Help him review. If it's something more serious, talk with the teacher.

 

Reprinted with permission from the May 2014 issue of Parents make the difference!® (Elementary School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2014 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Source: J. Epstein & S. Sheldon, "Present and Accounted For: Improving Student Attendance Through Family and Community Involvement," Journal of Education Research, Heldref Publications.

 

 

Don't let your child waste the summer in front of a screen

 The lazy days of summer can lead to lazy hours in front of the TV, computer or game system. But experts say it's important to limit screen time. A good rule of thumb is two hours a day or fewer.

 

So what can your child do once her two hours of screen time are up? Have her try these ideas:

 

  • Be the entertainment. Instead of watching a show, your child can create one! Encourage her to choose an exciting story line and act it out with friends or stuffed animals.
  • Play classic games. Fill a bucket with traditional summer toys, including sidewalk chalk, balls, bubble stuff and water sprayers. When the weather is right, take it outside for hours of fun.
  • Plan a treasure hunt. Hide lots of clues, with each one leading to the next. This can be done outside or inside. The last clue should lead to a treasure, such as fruit-juice popsicles or a fun activity.
  • Get some exercise. Go for a walk or ride bikes together. Toss or kick a ball around. Consider learning how to play a new sport together.

 

Reprinted with permission from the May 2014 issue of Parents make the difference!® (Elementary School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2014 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc.

 

 

Elementary School ~ April

 It's not too late to get involved– volunteer at your child's school

 Have you ever thought of volunteering to help at your child's school? It's not too late! Here are five reasons to give it a try:

 

  1. Your child will benefit. Even if you're not in his classroom, your child will know you're at school. He'll feel important and he'll know you think learning is important, too.
  2. You'll get to know your child's teachers and other school staff. That makes it easier to ask for help when your child needs it.
  3. The school will benefit. Whether you read to a classroom, help in the cafeteria or tutor students, you're freeing school staff to spend more time with kids. And that leads to better learning.
  4. Volunteering is easy. Many schools offer training to volunteers. And there are volunteer jobs that can be done at home, at night or on weekends. So every parent can get involved.
  5. Volunteering is fun. You meet other parents in your neighborhood. You may learn new skills. And you get a good feeling from knowing you've done something important.

 

Interested? Call the school today to see how you might be able to help.

 

Reprinted with permission from the April 2014 issue of Parents make the difference!® (Elementary School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2014 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc.

 

 

Work with the teacher first if you encounter a disagreement

 Don't like what your child's teacher assigns for homework? Don't think the teacher has been fair to your child? Think her approach to teaching isn't working?

 

There are others at school who can help you resolve a problem with your child's teacher--the school counselor or principal. But the first person you should always talk with is the teacher.

 

Following these steps can help resolve a problem quickly:

 

  • Set up an appointment or schedule a phone call with the teacher. The end of the day, when you're both tired, is probably not the best time for a discussion involving strong feelings.
  • Seek the facts. Talk to your child. But try not to draw conclusions or assess blame until you've talked with the teacher.
  • Look for misunderstanding. Sometimes the teacher isn't aware of a child's difficulty or confusion about a rule or assignment. Or your child might misunderstand an assignment.
  • Avoid criticizing the teacher or school in front of your child. This confuses children, and might make them become defiant and rude to teachers.
  • Discuss possible solutions. What might you, the teacher and your child do to solve the problem at hand?
  • Talk about how best to proceed. Try to work something out with the teacher. But if you can't agree on a solution, discuss who you should talk with next.

 

Reprinted with permission from the April 2014 issue of Parents make the difference!® (Elementary School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2014 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Source: L. Katz, "Preventing and Resolving Parent-Teacher Differences," ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary & Early Childhood Education, University of Illinois.

 

 Develop thinking skills by letting your child make some decisions

 As your child moves from kindergarten to high school graduation, you need to figure out a way to teach him how to make good decisions.

 

The best way to learn to make good decisions is by making lots of them. So give your child as many chances as you can to make choices.

 

Young children can decide what they want for lunch. Older kids can have a wider range of choices.

 

Of course, you'll still set the boundaries. Your child can decide whether to do his math or science homework first, but he can't decide to watch TV before he starts his homework. Gradually, give your child more practice in figuring out how he can make responsible choices.

 

Children don't always connect outcomes with the choices they have made, so help your child think about the consequences of his decisions.

 

And when he makes a poor decision, sit down and talk about what worked and what didn't. Ask, "What would you do differently next time?" The next time he has to make a decision, he will be able to draw on what he learned.

 

Reprinted with permission from the April 2014 issue of Parents make the difference!® (Elementary School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2014 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Source: R. Curwin, Making Good Choices: Developing Responsibility, Respect, and Self-Discipline in Grades 4-9, Corwin Press.

 

 

Setting expectations leads to your child's academic success

Expect your child to succeed, and her chances for success improve greatly. Expect her to come up short, and the odds are that she will.

Children are usually keenly aware of how their parents view them, and they often tailor their actions to those views. So it's very important to have high expectations--and communicate them to your child.

To set effective expectations:

  • Make sure what you expect is within your child's abilities. If you set expectations that are either too high or too low, your child may do poorly.
  • Let your child know what you expect of her. Make a list of expectations. Cover places and situations--home, school, homework, etc.
  • Be consistent. Don't lower your expectations because you feel guilty for being away from home. Don't raise them because you've had a rough day.
  • Give your child the ways and means to meet your expectations. For example, provide a well-lit study space and school supplies.

Reprinted with permission from the April 2014 issue of Parents make the difference!® (Elementary School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2014 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc.

 

 

Elementary School ~ March

Balanced nutrition can lead to better school performance

One of the best ways you can boost your child's ability to learn is to ensure he eats healthy meals. Did you know that protein and iron help the brain function? And studies show that children who don't eat enough foods rich in iron and protein tend to have lower test scores, poor academic performance and behavior issues.

  • Protein is found in meat, fowl, fish and dairy products. There is also protein in eggs, peas, beans, nuts and seeds.
  • Iron is in dark green, leafy vegetables and some grains. Red meat, eggs and raisins also are sources.

There are also foods that most experts suspect interfere with learning. Children who eat these foods might not be able to concentrate, sit still or remember well.

Help your child avoid foods that contain:

  • Too much sugar--like that found in candy, cookies, soft drinks and sweetened cereals.
  • Caffeine--from tea, chocolate or sodas.
  • Lots of additives--such as preservatives and artificial flavoring.

Reprinted with permission from the March 2014 issue of Parents make the difference!® (Elementary School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2014 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Source: M. Florence and others, "Diet Quality and Academic Performance," Journal of School Health, American School Health Association.

 

Geography comes to life with fun and educational activities

Geography is much more than learning about rivers, capitals and principal products. Helping your child learn about geography can be a way to bring the entire world around him to life.

Here are some educational and fun activities that will get your child thinking a little bit more about geography:

  • Have your child draw a map of how to get from your house to school, grocery store or a friend's. Then follow the map.
  • Walk outside and identify north, south, east and west, as well as northeast, northwest, southeast and southwest. Now use words to describe where things in your town are located. "My school is northeast of my house." "City Hall is south of the zoo."
  • Look for street patterns. In some towns, streets run north and south, while avenues run east and west. Or, street names may be alphabetical. Help your child see the patterns.
  • Encourage your child to start a collection of objects from countries around the world. Stamps, post cards and coins are all easy items to collect and store.
  • Go through your house and talk about where things came from. Look for labels to see where articles were made. A calculator may have come from Taiwan. A box of cereal may have a Battle Creek, Michigan or Chicago, Illinois address. Locate them on a map.
  • Tell your child where your ancestors came from. Find these places on a map. If possible, learn about the routes your ancestors traveled when they came to this country. Where do your relatives live now? Again, check the map.

Reprinted with permission from the March 2014 issue of Parents make the difference!® (Elementary School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2014 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc.

 

Five steps can help your child break the procrastination habit

At one time or another, most kids put off doing homework or chores. Besides driving parents crazy, procrastination can cause kids to do poorly in school.

Help your elementary schooler break the procrastination habit with this simple five-step process. Have your child:

  1. Select just one thing to do. Sometimes kids feel overwhelmed. Tell your child to focus on one thing at a time.
  2. Time herself. Get a kitchen timer and set it for 30 minutes.
  3. Ignore everything else while the timer is ticking. Don't use the phone. Don't sharpen every pencil.
  4. Avoid breaks. If your child didn't get a glass of juice before setting the timer, she's out of luck for 30 minutes.
  5. Reward herself. Let your child see the link between doing the work and getting to do something she likes, such as playing on the computer or staying up a bit later to read in bed.

Reprinted with permission from the March 2014 issue of Parents make the difference!® (Elementary School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2014 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Source: R. Emmett, The Procrastinating Child, Walker & Company.

 

Make rules, set limits for using TV & computer

Research continues to show the harmful effects of excessive screen time on students' academic performance. That's why the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a new policy statement on children and media. They are encouraging pediatricians to ask parents two media questions at every well-child visit:

  1. How much recreational screen time does your child consume daily? Their recommendation is no more than two hours daily.
  2. Is there a television set or Internet connected device in your child's bedroom? The answer to this question should be no.

To reduce your child's screen time and help him use it responsibly:

  • Pay close attention to how your family uses media. Where are the TVs and computers located? How many hours does your child spend in front of a screen?
  • Make a plan. Take the TV and Internet-connected devices out of your child's bedroom. Then establish a screen-time schedule and stick to it.
  • Offer choices. Suggest other activities for your child: read a book, run around outside or play a board game with friends.
  • Teach your child how to be a critical viewer. Encourage him to ask questions about what he sees and reads.

Reprinted with permission from the March 2014 issue of Parents make the difference!® (Elementary School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2014 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Source: "Policy Statement: Children, Adolescents and the Media," American Academy of Pediatrics, http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/132/5/958.full.

 

 

Elementary School ~ February

Give specific examples when you talk to your child about respect

Children who respect their parents will respect their teachers. As a result, they will pay attention to what the teacher says--and learn more.

However, the best way to get your child to show respect is not by talking about an abstract idea that may be hard for him to understand. Instead, try talking about specific actions he can take to show respect.

For example, when your child interrupts you, you might say, "When someone else is talking, it's respectful to listen until the person is finished. Then you can have your turn."

You can also ask if your child can come up with specific behaviors that would show respect. "What can you do to show your teacher respect?" Your child could raise his hand, complete homework on time and pay attention in class.

When your child does something respectful, help him make the connection. "I loved the way you showed respect to your grandmother when she came to visit. You helped her with her luggage and thanked her for the gift she gave you."

Reprinted with permission from the February 2014 issue of Parents make the difference!® (Elementary School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2014 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Source: P. Denton, "The Power of our Words," Educational Leadership, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

 

Are you making the most of your report card talks?

Maybe your child's report card is great. Maybe it's worse than you had feared. Whatever the report card says, it provides a great chance to talk with your child about school and study habits.

Answer yes or no to the questions below to see if you are making the most of report card talks:

___1. Do you take the report card seriously and set aside time to talk about it?

___2. Do you ask your child if she agrees with the grades and why or why not?

___3. Do you remain calm and try not to make your child feel worse if she's already disappointed?

___4. Do you help your child figure out a plan to improve or maintain her grades for the next report card?

___5. Do you contact the teacher if you have concerns?

How well are you doing?

Each yes answer means you're turning report card time into learning time. For each no answer, try that idea in the quiz.

Reprinted with permission from the February 2014 issue of Parents make the difference!® (Elementary School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2014 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc.

 

D-E-A-R time can strengthen your family's reading habits

In some families, saying, "Oh, DEAR!" doesn't mean something is broken. Instead, it means it's time for family reading.

D-E-A-R stands for Drop Everything And Read. During DEAR time, everyone in the family sits down for some uninterrupted reading time. The TV goes off. The telephone goes unanswered. The computer is shut down. The cell phones are turned off.

If you'd like to have some DEAR time with your family, follow these suggestions:

  • Be prepared. Make sure everyone has something to read. You may want to plan a trip to the library. You may also want to keep some interesting magazines or books on hand.
  • Let everyone know. You might want to hold a family meeting to schedule your initial DEAR time. If you have a family calendar, be sure to write DEAR time on it. This helps your kids see that reading time is just as important as a medical appointment or athletic practice.
  • Start small. Many families start with a once-weekly, half-hour session. As family members get into the reading habit, DEAR time becomes more frequent.
  • Take part. DEAR time only works if everyone in the family reads. So grab a mystery novel or the latest best-seller and curl up for a few minutes of reading yourself.

 

Reprinted with permission from the February 2014 issue of Parents make the difference!® (Elementary School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2014 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc.

 

Show your child that education is important to your family

Showing your child that you support education is one of the best ways to inspire her to do her best. When she knows school is important to you, it becomes important to her, as well.

Your child will know school is a top priority the more you do these things:

  • Build a relationship with your child's teacher. Kids learn best when they feel that home and school are on the same team.
  • Talk with your child about school and ask questions about what she is learning.
  • Put important school dates on your family calendar. Write down the dates of quizzes, spelling tests and when assignments are due.
  • Keep your home stocked with all of the school supplies your child needs.
  • Volunteer at school whenever you are able to.
  • Tell your child why you value education and why it should be important to her, too.
  • Review your child's homework every day. Even if you're not home when your child does her homework, always ask to see it. Your interest sends the message that homework is important.
  • Attend school programs and events. Invite family members and friends to come along when appropriate.
  • Post school work and report cards on the refrigerator for everyone to see.

Reprinted with permission from the February 2014 issue of Parents make the difference!® (Elementary School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2014 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc.

 

 

Back To Top