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TARA GREEN: How to help your kids thrive in the summer term

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There is one term left of the current school year and it is a very long term. Easter was early and so next term will be 15 weeks long. Only the autumn term is usually as long as this. We parents and our children are going to take a run up at this term to have the stamina to make it a good one. So, what needs to be done?

Firstly, keep on top of the practical aspects of being prepared and organised for school. Over the weekend, get bedtimes back to school-night routines and timings. Have PE kits, book bags, home work and school uniforms ready. Most years we might be sending the children back in their summer uniform but goodness only knows if it will be snowing or mild and sunny next week.

Secondly, let's consider the academic aspects of school. You probably attended a parents evening in February. Review the key points that your child's teacher shared with you. What strengths and weaknesses were brought up and what have you been able to do to address them? Meet with the teacher again if you feel you need a more up-to-date place to make an assessment. Whatever you do, remember there is a third of this school year left for your child to learn and progress. Sometimes the summer term can feel like a coasting term, ambling along in the patterns of the previous two terms and meandering to the summer holidays. Your child's teacher is not doing this. Schools are keeping up the same pace and pressure. Set goals with your child for things they wish to achieve between now and the summer.

Do they want to read well enough to tackle a certain book or set of books? Could they learn a couple of times tables really well by then? Do they want to work towards a really good homework, attendance, punctuality or behaviour record?

Do they want to have more play dates or try out for a sports team or school play? When they've chosen their goal, come up with two or three ideas for working towards it, asking them to imagine how they will feel when they achieve it. Visualising goals makes it more likely that they will be achieved. Review progress each week.

As well as the academic side of school, your child is learning social and emotional skills of course. Here are some of the key aspects:

self-confidence

good communication skills, with the other children and with adults

interpersonal skills

ability to take responsibility for their own actions and efforts

resilience, that is, their ability to bounce back when they make a mistake or have a setback

independence

Take a moment to think about each of your children in turn. Being as honest and objectives as you can, give them a score out of ten for each skill. What score would you have given them back in September? Note if they have developed and progressed since then or if there is an area in which they've stood still or even regressed. If all is well, focus on the goal already set above and just keep these skills in mind as one way of gauging how engaged and motivated your child is at school. If you find an issue however, consider ways to support them.

TARA GREEN: How to help your kids thrive in the summer term


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