Some kids love school. They enter the classroom with a smile, listen intently, take on the challenge of the day, study until they get the lesson, then do it all again the next day. Others show up because they are told to, work when they feel like it, and zone out every five minutes or so. Unfortunately, too many students fall into the latter category. However, caregivers hold the key to keeping children engaged.
Here are 4 ways to keep your child engaged in school (I used all 4 techniques to help my son):
Take at least twenty minutes everyday and ask your child what she learned in each subject (show genuine interest). Have a copy of her schedule posted nearby. Start with her first period class and ask what she learned, what classwork she did, what she has for homework etc. Don’t accept “nothing” as an acceptable answer. Her ability to explain what she learned will indicate her level of engagement and understanding. It will also reinforce what was taught that day.
Identify your child’s strengths and areas for improvement. Take a close look at the work that she brings home. If she is struggling with ELA, math etc., seek out help sooner than later. Don’t be afraid to go “old school.” For example, if she is struggling with spelling, have her do writing assignments off the computer—spellcheck is an enabler. Or, if she is struggling with mathematical facts or terms, have her create flashcards by hand. Then work with her to learn the information. She is more likely to stay engaged in her studies if she is succeeding academically.
Avoid giving your child mixed messages. Telling her the information she learns in school is useless then insisting that she goes everyday will keep her from engaging in the process. She will show up physically, but be mentally disconnected. Instead, help her understand that learning is a lifelong process. Explain that learning new things “grows” her brain—it increases her ability to process information, problem solve, and engage in critical thinking.
If you send your child to school with a cell phone, smart watch, and/or wireless earbuds, you are helping her to disengage from the learning process. I read a survey last year which stated that 50% of children with cellphones are addicted to their cellphones—teachers just can’t compete with an addiction or devises that can easily hidden.
Students who are engaged in school usually have caregivers who are engaged in their learning. When caregivers get involved, children become accountable for their learning—they pay attention and get the most out of their education.