The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

November 28, 2012

Spark your child’s desire to succeed

By Marianne Bright for the SNAP
SNAP

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 — Children have a natural desire to learn and to do well. However, to say that distractions often get in the way of a student’s success is an understatement. In this world of texting, tweeting, Facebook, websurfing, multiple personal electronic devices and hundreds of cable channels, it’s amazing schoolwork ever gets done. I can’t count the number of times a parent has expressed frustration over guiding their children toward good choices: “If my child would only concentrate on his homework as well as he does on his video games.”

This column is a follow-up to the one published in The Stanly News & Press on Nov. 6, offering tips to help you encourage your child to cut through the distractions and motivate him to demonstrate a positive attitude about schoolwork and learning.

Below is a checklist of ideas regarding what you and your child can do together:

Develop a study routine and utilize a “Daily Achievement Sheet.” This can be set up like a spreadsheet, with each day of the week in the far left column and various academic activities listed in a row across the top. For instance, you can track specific things like “Daily Homework Assignments,” “Longer-Term Projects,” “Tests” and “Quizzes.” You might also include a column for “Behavior/Attitude.”

Each day, your child should fill out a row and get the teacher’s signature. Charting daily successes will help your child feel a sense of accomplishment, and short-term academic goals will seem more manageable. The daily assignment sheet also will make you aware of missed assignments, poor grades and unsatisfactory behavior so that you can address them immediately.

Encourage your child to write down short-term academic goals and check them off as they are reached. Together, assign an award for each group of small achievements (such as completing homework every day for a week) or for each big achievement (such as a satisfactory grade on a test).

Do “homework” from your job while your child does schoolwork. Share the personal satisfaction you get from having your work complete.

Take advantage of down time (during meals, riding in the car) to talk to your child about school. Congratulate perseverance and accomplishments both large and small.

Ask your child about peer pressure. Are friends discouraging academic success? If so, remember that you are your child’s greatest influence and discuss ways to resist that peer pressure.

Determine whether conditions at home or school are distracting your child from schoolwork. Family conflicts such as sibling competition can interfere with classroom concentration and progress. Again, communication is key to helping your child recognize and deal with these conflicts.

By getting involved in your child’s academic growth, you are showing that you care. And that may be the best motivation you can provide.

For more educational resources for children in grades pre-K through 12, visit www.Sylvan Learning.com or call (704) 982-2288 in Albemarle. To share your personal academic experiences and comment on academic trends, visit www.DrRickBlog.com.