Every concerned parent knows the feeling: Am I doing too much or too little in helping my child? How do we maintain a healthy balance and encourage independence? When parents get home, tired from work, and there are still homework and studies to be done, it is easy to get frustrated and impatient. Impatience leads to arguments and tears, which turn homework sessions into a tug of war. Keep the following in mind:
- Encourage Healthy Habits. Children respond well to routines that help them organise their days. A regular bedtime that allows 9-10 hours of sleep is important. Healthy dietary habits, with a good breakfast in the morning will keep your child’s energy levels up. Encourage regular exercise and limit screen time.
- Create a “Launch Pad” where your child keeps the things they need for school. This will make the morning rush much less stressful.
- It is said that we spend our first years learning to read, the rest of our lives to learn. Do some reading with your child every day. Make this time enjoyable.
- Make learning a part of life. Time spent in die kitchen offers opportunity to discuss elements of math and science. Recipes can be read and talked about. Encourage lifelong learning.
- Grade 4 is a year of transition. Your child needs to adapt to numerous new routines at school. Give enough support. Help your child to be more organised and follow a daily homework routine.
- Be realistic in your expectations. If you are uncertain about your child’s academic potential, you could set up an educational evaluation. This will point out your child’s strengths as well as areas in which support might be needed.
- Help your child to organise his or her designated study corner. See to it that books, stationery and other resources are at hand.
- Put aside a specific time each day to check your child’s homework and give assistance where necessary. Don’t start with homework at night when your child is tired, the earlier you get started the better. This will prevent tearful homework sessions that end in frustration.
- Also take a few minutes to just relax and talk to your child before you check his/her homework. Take time to find out what the “highs” and “lows” of their day were. Stay tuned to what’s happening in your child’s life.
Stay on track with your child’s academic progress. Even if your child does homework at an aftercare centre, parents still need to check homework and make sure that your child studies for tests and exams.