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How to raise happy, successful kids
One of the most important aspects of parenting is ensuring that your child gets a good education. School is a place where your child not only learns skills like reading and writing, but also about friendship, responsibility and fairness. In short, school is a test-run for the real world, and your child needs your help to navigate this complicated arena.
Research has shown that one of the greatest predictors of academic success is the amount of time a student reads. When asked by parents what they should do to help their child learn, most teachers will answer, "get them to read!" Books not only open new worlds and ideas for children, they build their vocabulary, improve their memory, grow their imagination and teach them valuable thinking skills. Time spent reading is an investment in your child's future.
Support your child's teacher
It is an unfortunate fact of modern-day society that teachers feel less support from parents, administrations and governments than ever before. This is a shame, not only for the hard-working teachers who deserve to feel respected as professionals, but for the students they teach.
Students receive the best education when they're part of a committed triumvirate. For a child to truly learn in school, all three members of the team need to work together. The teacher, student and parents should all be working toward the same goal with commitment and help from one another. All points of the triangle must be connected for the goal to be met. Go against the tide -- give your child's teacher the respect she deserves and the support she requires. Your child will thank you (eventually).
It truly does take a village to raise a child. Too often these days, however, parents find themselves struggling to do it all with very little support. If you live near grandparents, aunts or uncles, ask if they can occasionally go to the soccer game or pick up the art materials or buy the new notebook.
Very often, it is the little tasks that combine to make parents feel overwhelmed. Spreading the small tasks around to willing volunteers may give you more time to focus on the important aspects of the school year. If family members aren't available to help, then exchange help with neighbors and friends.
Practice what you preach
To make the school year go more smoothly, it's important that your child is responsible, timely and well behaved. You are far more likely to have a child who behaves this way if you model appropriate behavior for them.
If you are frequently late, often forget important items, and are stressed and irritable most of the time, you're far more likely to have chronic problems with your children -- especially during the school year when time is tight. Give your child the skills to succeed by working on them yourself. Nobody's perfect, but if you show that you ask of yourself the same things you ask of them, then you're more likely to garner their cooperation.
Next page: 2 more steps to school-year success >>