If your child is struggling in school, what happens in the classroom can affect how he feels and acts once he’s back home. But it’s important to remember that it works both ways: What happens at home can make a big difference in your child’s ability to bounce back from difficulties and keep trying hard in school.
Your Role in Making Simple Changes at Home
At home, you can reinforce the skills and good habits your child is being taught in school. You can also help your child arrive at school feeling prepared for the day. Even something as simple as getting more sleep can improve your child’s attitude about school.
Making changes to your family routines and environment can help with many kinds of learning and attention issues. For example, creating structure and predictability is especially important for children with ADHD and executive functioning issues.
How can you make your child feel more successful? Sometimes a small adjustment in your everyday schedule is all it takes.
5 Simple Changes You Can Make at Home
There are a handful of ways you can smooth the day-to-day experiences of your whole family. Keep in mind that these changes don’t require any special equipment or cost a lot of money. But they do require sustained effort on your part.
1. Create—and stick to—a schedule.
Children of all abilities thrive on routine. It really helps when your child knows what he’s expected to do and when. This predictability can help him get ready for school and extracurricular activities on time. It can also help him successfully complete homework and household chores.
Another upside: Once you’ve set clear expectations and your child gets into the habit of following a routine, you won’t have to keep giving him constant reminders.
There are several inexpensive ways you can help your child stick to a schedule. For specifics on how to do this, explore schedule tips to make your (and your child’s) day simpler. Picture schedules and other visual aids can also help. And visit Parenting Coach for expert advice on helping your child transition from task to task.
2. Find organizational tricks that work.
Reducing morning meltdowns and easing transitions throughout the day can be as simple as teaching your child personal organization tricks. Read tips on how to get your child organized at home, school and beyond. You’ll find additional strategies to help with organization and time management in Parenting Coach.
3. Get enough rest.
No amount of home organization, strict scheduling or parenting tricks will help if you and your child can’t stay awake! Explore tips for getting more sleep.
4. Use media wisely.
Let’s face it: For many families, letting children watch TV, play video games or use the computer gives Mom and Dad a needed break.
But your child’s favorite games and TV shows can also be a fun way to work on social skills. Check out ways to use TV and video games to help your child learn. It’s important that you feel good about what kind of media you offer your child, and how much.
You can also find expert-approved games and apps in Tech Finder. This tool can be searched by age and by issue, such as reading or math.
5. Find time for family time.
Spending time as a family can introduce valuable skills to all children. It can enhance communication, problem-solving, cooperation and negotiation skills.
Feeling loved and supported can also be a powerful motivator. Showing your child how much you enjoy spending time with him can build his self-esteem. Self-esteem plays a key role in whether he keeps trying or gives up easily on schoolwork.
The bustle of everyday life makes it hard for many families to sit down together for meals or to hang out together every night. Do your best to schedule in some family fun. Take walks, prepare and share meals, do crafts together or play games. For ideas on how to make it work, see tips on relaxing and bonding with your child.