Parents can sabotage their child’s education without knowing it, said Charles A. “Chuck” Smith, Kansas State University Research and Extension child development specialist, who offered these back-to-school tips for parents:
12 tips for the new school year
Make an appointment to meet your child’s teacher.
Learn school policies and follow them.
Model respect for teachers and encourage your child to do the same.
Create an environment that is conducive to learning at home: Establish a study area and limit diversions – radio, television, telephone calls and music – during study hours.
Celebrate effort, rather than grades, and learning, rather than scores.
“Employers often say they will hire a B student who has taken challenging classes and engaged in school and community activities rather than an A student who has taken less challenging classes and not explored out-of-the-classroom learning activities.”
Encourage the child to pursue his or her interests. Try not to pressure your child into pursuing your interests or interests that you wish you had pursued.
Reinforce learning outside of the classroom through extracurricular activities, family activities and one-on-one time.
Listen to what your child is saying and learn to be a good observer. Watch for signs that your child is developing new interests and then nurture them.
Model lifelong learning. Nurture your own interests and engage in learning activities that expand your interests and build skills.
Engage your child in conversation, but don’t grill him or her. Children often are more likely to tell a parent about their day when they are engaged in another activity, such as setting the table or taking a walk after supper.
Try not to make homework an issue. Allow a child to take the responsibility for what he or she does – or doesn’t – do.
Invoke Grandma’s rule: Eat your veggies before dessert and finish your homework before moving on to the fun stuff.