Support your child's curiosity and intelligence
Here are some ways you can encourage your child to work hard and be a curious and active learner: * Praise and celebrate your child's efforts and accomplishments. Focus on how much she wanted to do a good job and how hard she worked. Praise your child for trying hard and sticking with it. The effort is even more important than the final grade. Praise and celebrate every child in your family all year long--not just when report cards come out. Display your child's papers and artwork on the refrigerator.
Tell your child how wonderful her work is. * Read often to your child and encourage your child to read. Your child is never too young for you to read aloud to him. Your child is never too old to listen to you read aloud. The more your child reads, the better prepared he will be to handle harder and harder schoolwork as he moves up the grades.
* Be interested in all the questions that your child asks. Try to answer or talk about those questions, even if you feel busy or tired. Whenever you can, take the time to help your child find the answers to questions--by looking in books, by asking an "expert," by figuring it out. * Take trips to the public library. Make friends with the librarians. Ask the librarian to help you find the best and most interesting books for your child. * Plan family outings to museums, zoos, parks, and historical places. Going somewhere interesting doesn't have to cost a lot of money. A trip to an interesting place gives adults and children of different ages lots to talk about, read about, and tell others about. Do projects around the home together.
Carpentry, cooking, sewing, gardening, fixing things, painting, and arts and crafts all offer opportunities to learn. Your child gets to use her own ideas and learn new skills. "I made it!" and "I fixed it!" are exciting statements for a child to make. * Limit the amount of TV your child watches. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents limit their children's TV viewing to one to two hours of good shows a day. The AAP also recommends that families take advantage of interesting programs offered on video. Often you can borrow excellent videos from the public library for free. * Be curious and show an interest in learning yourself. If you don't know how to spell a word, let your child see you look it up in the dictionary. If you have always wanted to learn how to play the guitar or piano, start taking lessons when your child begins music lessons.
* Talk with your children about news events, politics, and topics your child may be studying at school. Encourage your child to voice his opinions. Children who participate in mealtime or family conversations with parents are more likely to be successful in talking with teachers and other adults. * Encourage your child to make handmade gifts and cards. Your child might write poems to thank your relatives for presents, or to wish them a happy birthday. Drawings are good gifts, too. Grandma will enjoy receiving a handmade gift from her grandchild. * Involve your child in family decisions. Let your child help plan meals for the week. Talk about the travel time and the cost of tickets for an upcoming visit to see relatives.
Help your child use her ideas and math skills to help with household tasks. She can write lists and check off jobs when they are done. * Have high expectations for your child. Everyone can be successful in school. Give that message to your child again and again. Say, "I know that studying for that history test is hard work. I know you can do it!" Explain that when the work is hard, you have to try hard.
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