The Early Years: How Families can Help

Caring today can help your child tomorrow.

The child who gets off to a good start in school has a much better chance of success throughout the years.

The attention and interest we show our children now creates the confidence they'll need for a successful future.  For instance, we can help our children get more out of school by making a connection between what they do at home and what they do at school.

  • Ask your children to talk about their school day.  If it's important to you, it becomes important to them.
  • Make watching TV or videos a special event; too many children spend too many hours just staring at "the tube".
  • Help your children develop good study habits.  Make certain homework becomes an important part of their daily routine.
  • Give them space at home to work quietly and to display the things they do in school.
  • Resist the temptation to compare your child with other children - including brothers and sisters.
  • Praise them when things go well at school.  Praise, when it's been earned, is a great confidence builder.

Healthy children are ready to learn.

  • Make sure your children get the rest they need.  Otherwise, they'll be too tired to learn, too tired to try.
  • Be certain your children receive a nutritionally balanced diet.
  • Make meals a time for family get-together.
  • Make sure your children brush their teeth; it saves their teeth and your money.
  • Send them to school in clean clothes.  The better they feel about themselves, the better they'll feel about their work.
  • Be sure children get the immunization shots they need (your school nurse can tell you what's needed) and regular check-ups by your doctor.  A simple shot or check-up may avoid illness - and missed school.

Children are always learning.

Children can learn in many places and in many ways.  While school is a major source of their education, the things they learn at home are equally important to their development.  As a parent, you have a chance to make a big difference in how and how well your children learn.

Learning at home can be fun for the whole family.

  • Encourage children to do projects at home with you or with other children.  They'll learn to cooperate and improve their social skills.
  • Select safe, educational toys and activities that fit their level of development.
  • Play games - especially those that have educational value, like number games, guessing games, and word games.

Family trips and vacations are exciting ways to learn.

Visit interesting places like museums, zoos, libraries, historical sites, parks - and discuss them with your children...it's fun.  See new things like the ocean, mountains, cities, farms, theater - anything that's different from what children see in school or at home.

You can help your children's school do a better job if you:

  • Attend parent-teacher conferences.
  • Get to know the teacher and communicate often with him or her.
  • Know what your child is studying and take an active interest in his or her courses.
  • Ask your child, "What did you do in school today?"  If he or she says, "nothing," don't give up.  Ask specific questions about different subjects and events.
  • See that your child attends school regularly.

Your caring makes a teacher's caring mean so much more.  Caring is more than a matter of love and dedication.  Your children's teachers have plenty of both.  But a teacher's caring alone is not enough.  Your children should know you care, too.

Be involved, interested, and concerned.  Then and only then can your children get the most out of the caring their teachers give them.

School staff and families...the more we work together, the more we'll help our children.

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