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Simple ways to support your child's learning

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To be successful in school, children must have an array of tools and skills. Here’s how you can help at home, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

  • ENSURE YOUR CHILD IS HEALTHY. Make sure they eat right, get lots of exercise and are up-to-date on their vaccinations. Click here for a list of recommended vaccinations, and the schedule in which a child should receive them.
  • ENCOURAGE READING. Start early by reading to your baby and young child. Keep a lot of reading materials around your home. Let your child see you reading, and enjoying it (if you are uncomfortable with your reading skills, seek out a literacy program in your community). Click here for information about the My Happily Ever After Begins with Reading campaign.
  • TALK TO YOUR CHILD. This give-and-take helps develop language and communication skills. It also lets your child know you care. So ask her about her classes while in the car or walking to and from school. Talk about food shopping, prices and health while at the supermarket. Discuss what you see on TV together. This makes conversation an everyday part of your life.
  • MONITOR THE TV AND VIDEO GAMES. Too much screen time cuts into important activities like reading, playing and talking with family. Limit your own TV watching because children tend to mimic their parents’ behavior. Watch TV with your child when you can so you can see what he’s watching, answer questions and point out important information.
  • VISIT YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY. Get your child a library card. Make the library part of your regular weekly schedule. Teach your child how to take care and respect library materials, as well as return them on time. Research topics your child is interested in.
  • TEACH YOUR CHILD HOW TO SAFELY USE THE INTERNET. Spend time online with your child. Help her find appropriate websites. Pay attention to games he or she might download or people who may try to contact them. If you’re not familiar with computers, learn along with your child or check your local library for courses. For more information about internet safety, go to Get Net Wise.
  • ENCOURAGE RESPONSIBILITY AND INDEPENDENT WORK. Establish household rules. Make it clear your child is responsible for his actions. Develop a reasonable schedule of household jobs.
  • MONITOR AFTERSCHOOL AND WEEKEND ACTIVITIES. If you can’t be with your children, make sure they keep you information about where they are, what they’re doing, and whom they’re with.
  • MONITOR HOMEWORK. While some kids dread homework or complain it cuts into their playtime, homework shouldn’t create a family battlefield. The key to good homework habits lies in preparation.
  1. Children should know that homework is the first priority. Other afterschool activities come second.
  2. Set a specific time each day to complete homework (maybe after your child has had some time to relax after school but before heading off to sports, watching TV, or playing outside).
  3. Provide a healthy afternoon snack before breaking open the books.
  4. Set aside a quiet area and a clear table space so homework time is free of distractions.
  5. Don’t feel the homework has to be perfect before handing it in to the teacher. If your child has worked hard, say something positive about the completed work. Maybe point out only one or two corrections (grammar or spelling) so he or she doesn’t feel discouraged. For more homework tips, click here.

U.S. Department of Education

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