The Hornet's Nest
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Raising a child to have a love of learning and a desire to succeed is much like walking a tight rope. If you push too hard for your child to do well, your child is likely to view reading, homework, and studying for tests as one big chore. However, if you are too laid back and don’t supervise his/her learning at all outside the classroom, then your child might lack the necessary discipline and motivation to succeed. So, exactly what steps should you take now to ensure your child will become a successful student? Below are some valuable habits you can adopt to help make the learning process fun and exciting:
- Encourage your child and acknowledge his/her efforts in learning. Phrases such as, “you read very well,” “you should be proud of your neat handwriting,” or “you are a good speller” all go a long way toward teaching your child to want to do well. Everyone wants praise for his or her achievements, most especially your child.
- Never refer to school or homework as a chore. Present an upbeat attitude and your child will eventually take the cue from you to enjoy the process of school and learning. Don’t make the mistake of simply asking your child, “How was school today?” because you will invariably get the one-word answer of, “Fine.” Instead, encourage a conversation by asking, “What interesting thing happened today?” “What did you and your friends do during recess?” “What was the most fun thing you did today at school?” These questions make your child become more aware of the enjoyable moments during school.
- If your child is young, set 15 to 30 minutes a day to read together. If your child is older, set a specified time (during which the television and all other electronics are turned off) for the entire family to read silently.
- Keep alert to what interests your child. Does he or she like to do puzzles or does your child like to paint? Each child is born with unique traits and talents. Observe your child to discover those gifts, and then encourage him/her toward similar activities or extra-curricular programs. By doing so, you will increase your child’s creativity and self-confidence.
Being a parent or guardian is the most wonderful role an adult will ever play in life, yet it can also be challenging. After all, your children have their own minds and personalities, so to get them to adopt your attitude and viewpoint toward learning, you will need to use a lot of positive reinforcement, praise, and patience. While that may not be easy, the payoff to having your child become a successful individual is worth all of those efforts.