Every school year poses a different challenge for your child. Whether the challenge is a transition to a new environment, starting a new program, or a change in the overall approach to learning. You can do your best to support your child by being present and engaged with their education. Research suggests that children are more likely to succeed when parents are involved in their education from an early age, specifically through establishing relationships, routines, and rituals.
Children will spend a large part of their early childhood in a school setting, so relationships within the school will be a key cornerstone for your child’s development both academically and holistically. There are various ways that you can strengthen the relationship between your child and their school. For example, you can ask them questions about school life on a daily basis, support their learning at home, and encourage them to persist through different tasks or activities.
A strong home-communication system shouldn’t be underestimated. For example, by taking the time to visit your child’s classroom, you can learn about their environment and ask them questions about the actual space that the child can relate to. It’s also important to get to know their teachers and staff at the school and share stories about your child’s home life and how that compares to their school life. If your school has family events, attend when possible, as these will be special memories for your child.
Some important questions you can ask of your teacher to help you strengthen your relationship with your child at home are:
What is his favorite activity/subject?
Who does he/she spend time with?
What aspect of the lesson does he/she most enjoy?
What areas should we place extra focus on at home?
Routines will also play a crucial part in your child’s school experience. School routines are created so your child can understand transition and what each stage of the lesson represents.
Routines at home are equally important. Create structured meal times for your child to help with early social development and to regulate your child’s internal clock. Additonally, teaching your child concepts like taking turns, helping others, and cleaning up will help them understand implement these routines in their school environment.
Setting a routine nap time and bed time can really help ensure that your child is getting enough sleep, which is vital for their focus, growth, and cognitive development. For example, you can read a book to your child or sing a lullaby together before going to bed.
Another important routine to implement is having a structured remote-learning schedule. Create regular reading times, exploration activities, and outdoor play times to help your child transition seamlessly from in-person to remote learning throughout these periods of intermittent school closure.
Rituals can be defined as “special actions that help us navigate emotionally important events as well as enhancing areas of our daily routines to deepen our connections and relationships.” In short, rituals are a great way to cement important routines and make them personal to you and your child.
Try these simple rituals at home:
– Create a secret handshake with your child and use it to say ‘hello’ or ‘goodbye’
– Weekly boardgame night with snacks
– Holiday rituals like decorating a Christmas tree together, making dumplings in Chinese New Year, or going trick-or-treating
– Read a storybook together before bed
Rituals are unique to each family and that’s what makes them near and dear to your child’s heart. When they grow up, they may not remember what happened each day, but they sure will feel a wave of nostalgia revisiting old family rituals.
Don’t worry if you feel like you have no idea what to do. This past school year has been full of ups and downs, and has required unprecedented problem-solving and flexibility. We’re learning just as much as you and we hope that through this platform, we can share some useful tips and resources as we move forward into a new year.