It takes practice to write well. Consider establishing a writing “ritual” for your family. Pick a special time period—perhaps the duration of summer vacation. Get everyone a notebook (a thin one won’t overwhelm your child). Choose a regular time of day you’ll all write and stick with it. You can help your child get started by letting him pick a family photo or magazine picture to write a story about.
Archives for July 2015
Thursday, July 30, 2015
One way to expand your child’s vocabulary is by encouraging her to browse in the dictionary. Get a children’s dictionary with lots of pictures. Leaf through it with your child and look for new and interesting words together. Read the definitions. Talk about the pictures. Ask your child what she thinks. She may just develop a lifetime love of words.
Children learn by watching their parents. And when you narrate what you are doing, you make it easier for your child to learn. If you are cooking, for example, you might say, “I’m looking for a cake recipe. I don’t have time to read all the recipes in this cookbook, so I’m going to turn to the index in the back. Here under the letter C is a recipe for chocolate cake.” Now your child understands how useful an index can be.
Is your child a “glass half-empty” kind of kid? Some people are more pessimistic than others. But that doesn’t mean you can’t help your child see the sunnier side of life. Remind him of good times and successes he’s had. And if he says he’ll “never understand fractions,” for example, sit down and offer support as he figures it out. Show him that he can solve “impossible” problems if he works hard.
The two best ways to learn a foreign language are to speak it and hear it spoken. To help your child, check out audio books and videos in the language he’s learning from the library and play them at home. Check your TV listings for a channel in that language and watch together for a few minutes a day. You can also ask your child to teach you: “How do you say, ‘Goodbye’?”
The newspaper is a great source of learning activities for your child. Here are some to try: 1. Finder’s Reports. Take turns at dinner having each family member report on something (even the comics) they read in the paper. 2. Big Ideas. Take turns reading a brief article aloud. Discuss what each of you thinks is the most important fact. 3. Geography Bee. Find states and nations in the news on a world map.
Some self-criticism is normal, but kids who obsess about their weight or their looks may be on the road to trouble that can affect their health and their schoolwork. Don’t let your child diet without her doctor’s approval. But do teach her about healthy eating. Avoid criticizing your own body or hers. And encourage physical fitness for your whole family. Let your child experience how good exercise can feel.
Don’t let your child make these problem-solving mistakes
Learning how to solve problems is as important in life as it is in the classroom. But learning how NOT to solve them is also key. Teach your child not to deny or ignore problems (they often get worse!). Getting mad doesn’t help either. The sooner your child gets over being mad, the more time she has to solve the problem. Tell her not to worry about making a mistake—success is often built on them.
One way to keep your child reading, writing and learning over the summer is to make those things part of activities that are meaningful to him. Let him pick a book for you to take turns reading to each other. If he likes contests, post a “word of the week” and see who can use it correctly in a sentence most often. Or ask your child to plan a family event, including the budget and the menu. Then carry out the plan!
A visit to a zoo or nature center can excite your child about learning. During your visit, give family members paper and pencils. Ask everyone to draw an animal that interests them. After the visit, stop by the library and help your child find books on the animal she drew. You might also check out a book that can help your child identify wildlife in your area.
It sounds odd, but it’s true. It takes time to find time. Spend an hour reviewing your family’s schedule. Does it reflect your priorities? If family comes first, for example, are you spending more time with family than anywhere else? Can you cut back on activities that interfere with your goals? This can be tricky, but remember that although they might not admit it, kids want time with their parents more than material things.