7 practical tips for parents of young school-going children

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We have some general and practical tips and reminders that will enable your child and you to make the most of school with ease. Lot of it is common sense that we tend to overlook in the rush of our lives.

Stay abreast of the happenings in school

  • Encourage them to tell you about the school happenings and homework.  Try and have them form this habit. Each child is different - some kids love to tell all the details and it is difficult to get some kids to talk about school. In the beginning, for a couple of years, parents will need to gently keep reminding and encouraging them to tell.
  • Check their school diary and notebooks regularly, especially if they are reticent and inconsistent in keeping you abreast.
  • Have a network of other parents you can call and find out details, catch-up, share information or even vent from time to time. Start a private group of your child’s class parents on Parentree.

Get a handle on school paraphernalia

Get the right stuff, keep stock and have them keep stuff in the right place!

  • Get the right schoolbags, lunch/snack box, pencil box, stationery etc. Spend some time upfront getting tips from other parents, especially parents who have kids in higher classes who have been there done that and can share practical wisdom. For example, it was a veteran mommy who once gave me wonderful tips for my child’s lunch box: of getting the insulated Milton or Eagle lunch boxes that keep food slightly warm and to give extra curry in the rice because it soaks up and solidifies later. Would have never found this in a book or anywhere.
  • Encourage your kids to keep their school paraphernalia (school bags, shoes, dirty uniforms, lunch boxes) in the right places. It will not happen overnight. You will need to gently and consistently keep reminding them. This makes it easier for your family, and leaves you more time to sit with them and catch-up.

Foster consistent study habits and a wholesome attitude towards learning

  • Help them set up a regular study time so that they can get into a consistent study habit early on in their childhood. This way, it will become part of their routine and it will help them and you later, as academics pick up. Remember frequency is very important. Just cramming a lump sum study portion at a single time will not help them understand and retain concepts.
  • Remember that the idea of studying and education is to help them realize their potential and help them discover themselves versus just cramming facts and figures for almighty exams. Try to not push them for the sake of your ambitions and try and not compare your child with others - "So and so is able to write so fast, you are so slow". It can wreak havoc to their confidence and drive.

Be regular in meeting with teachers

  • Make sure that you are regular in attending the PTA meetings or if your child’s school does not have regular PTAs, meet the teacher a few times in a year. It also helps to meet the teacher in the first one month to introduce yourself, tell the teacher a little about your child and find out what is expected in terms of studying and other details.
  • Work as a team with teachers and be positive and constructive instead of complaining.

 

Plan upfront and be organized

  • Plan and organize: School snack / lunch, what to make them study, washing of the uniforms. It will make things much easier for you. 
  • Encourage and facilitate your little ones to be organized as well. For example, create a checklist for packing their school bag (pencil box ready, pencils sharpened, check time table and ensure books are there etc.) and stick it in their room. This way they can review the checklist themselves and ensure that they are not missing something.
  • Try and get as much stuff ready the night before.
    • It will help you beat the morning rush.
    • Take out their uniforms. Have them arrange their school bag. Decide what to give them for snack or lunch. Even try and prep up for snack or lunch the night before.

Keep your child healthy

  • Make sure your child is well rested and gets adequate sleep. School going children need 9-10 hours of sleep. Make sure they go to bed early. If they really need to prepare for a test or practice their multiplication tables, you could try and do it in the morning. Their mind is fresher.
  • Try and make sure they eat healthy before and during school. We all know that a substantial breakfast is very healthy. But if your child is not hungry early in the morning, you will need to balance what they eat for breakfast, their routine, snack / lunch time in school. 

Keep your child relaxed and happy

  • Make sure your child has some free and unstructured time after school. Try and not clutter up their after-school hours with just schoolwork and scheduled activities. Try and have some free, unscheduled, unstructured and spontaneous time for your child when they get back from school. It is very relaxing and rejuvenating for them.
  • Do not forget to give them unconditional love and cuddling at all times. It will help them feel secure and confident and fortify them to do their best. They can never have enough of love and cuddling, even if the little ones are now doing “big big” things in school and sprouting wings. They need you all the time as their balmy shelter from this tough world these days.
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