We’ve almost reached the end of the first trimester, and the bustle continues – homework, after school activities, sports, music lesson, etc… How can you help your child find balance in life and success at school? A few simple steps and you are on your way.
First, make sure your child is getting adequate sleep. Children, including teens, who average 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night increase learning and retention by 30%. On the other hand, just one night of insufficient sleep decreases learning and retention by the same amount (Adams 17). You can help your child by setting regular bedtimes and encouraging evening rituals that help your child slow down and relax before going to bed.
Second, help your child balance their nightly homework. If math is a struggle, break up the number of problems into sections. Do some math, work on other homework, then go back and finish the math problems. If your child is spending too much time on homework each night, work with their teacher to make it more manageable.
Here’s a tip, let your child take breaks, yes, breaks. Sitting in one spot for a long period of time at the end of the day can be daunting. Allow your child to take a few minutes to do something pleasurable or physical. It will revitalize their brain and help them to better focus when they return to the task at hand.
Help your child manage projects. Waiting until the last minute to complete that book report or research project will frustrate you and your child alike. When a project is assigned, mark it on the calendar and break it down into small manageable pieces. I was once asked, “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer, of course, is one bite at a time. Take a book report for example. Divide the number of pages (or chapters) by the number of days your child has to finish reading. Include the smaller portion of reading with the nightly homework. Don’t forget to allow time to complete the required project.
Today’s society wants us to believe that if our children are not afforded every opportunity available, we are not being good parents. In addition to school, children are playing several sports, taking music lessons, going to art classes, and more. Help your child develop balance. Everyone needs time and space to do nothing. Select one, maybe two favorite extracurricular activities and save the others for another time.
Finally, don’t forget that everyone needs a day off now and then. Give yourself and your children permission to relax. What does that look like? Maybe Friday is family game night. How about Saturday morning chillin’ out in your jammies? Playing outside develops their creativity. As the saying goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
In conclusion, you are the most influential person in your child’s life. With a bit of planning and your encouragement and support, you can help your child be a well-balanced individual with the necessary skills to navigate their academic career.
– Linda Thompson, Curriculum Coordinator
Adams, Julie. Game Changers. California: Healthy Living. 2014