Back to school preparations go beyond school clothes purchases and new backpacks filled with #2 pencils and spiral notebooks. Creating and supporting the habits of life-long learners is the best investment you can make in your child’s academic success.
The Parent Institute, the U.S. Department of Education, and the non-profit, Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) have ideas for creating a learning-rich, home environment. Their ideas have been combined together for this simple, home learning list to advance your child’s literacy and mathematic acuity this school year.
14 Ways to Create & Support Life-Long Learning Habits:
1) Want your children to be good readers? Let them see you read. Share their love of books and reading. Parents may say to children, “This was my favorite book when I was your age” or “I can’t wait to start my new book.”
2) Try relaxing your family’s bedtime rules once a week on the weekends. Let your children know that they can stay up as late as they want, as long as they are reading in bed.
3) Cook with your children. Have them use measuring spoons, cups and tools for a hands-on lesson in volume and science vocabulary, like liquids and solids.
4) Try holding D-E-A-R times at your house. “DEAR” stands for “Drop Everything and Read.” During DEAR time, everyone in the family sits down for some uninterrupted reading time.
5) With young children, try reading to them during bath time. Careful with the splashing.
6) Have children make a “book” about themselves, with their own illustrations and wording. “A Book About Me” is a great way to help your child see themselves as “somebody.”
7) Help your child discover their roots by talking with family members. Then ask your child to write that family member a thank you letter and share all they learned that they didn’t know in the letter.
8) Let kids overhear you praising them to others, particularly about how impressed you are with how they are learning. Always praise their reading efforts.
9) Encourage children to read biographies about successful people. As children learn about the traits that made others successful, they are often motivated to adopt those same success patterns in their own lives.
10) Motivate your children in math by challenging them to figure out how much change you should get back from a purchase. If they get the amount right, they get to keep the change.
11) Encourage kids to collect things. Whether they collect rocks, shells, leaves, or bugs is not important. By collecting, children are learning new ways to make sense of their world.
12) Estimating is an important math skill. We estimate how much our groceries will cost. We estimate how much time we’ll need to complete a project at work. You can help your child learn to estimate at home. Here’s one idea: As you’re driving, estimate the distance to your destination. Then estimate how much time it will take to get there. Use the odometer or a map to check your work.
13) Talk about geography in terms children can understand: Go through your house and talk about where things came from. A calculator may have come from Taiwan. A box of cereal may have a Battle Creek, Michigan address, or White Plains, New York. Talk about where the wheat for your bread came from. Where was the cotton for your blue jeans grown? Tell your children where your ancestors came from. Find the places on a map, together.
14) Show your child that writing is useful. Have them help you write a letter ordering something, asking a question, etc. Then show them the results of your letter.
Reading is Fundamental Suggestions:
• Establish a regular time and place for daily read-aloud sessions, such as before bed or during bath time.
• Keep on hand a variety of reading materials: picture books, chapter books, atlases, dictionaries, magazines, and newspapers. Get library cards for everyone and use them often. Encourage your child to swap books with friends. Give books as gifts.
• Have plenty of paper and writing tools.
• Store books and writing materials in places children can reach.
• Have frequent conversations with each child, as well as with the family as a whole. Parents should encourage everyone to express their ideas, opinions, and feelings.
• Reinforce language and literacy skills by doing puzzles and playing games that reinforce literacy, such as Lotto, Candy Land, Old Maid, Concentration, Scrabble, and Trivial Pursuit.
Laura Reagan is a parenting coach and author of “How to Raise Respectful Parents.” She can be reached for questions and comments through her website, LauraLReagan.com.
It’s 2020 and everyone is talking about transformation. You are overwhelmed and maybe a little scared. You have a tween, teen or launching young adult!
- Perhaps you are tired of walking on eggshells around your tween, teen or launching young adult?
- Maybe it’s the disrespectful communication from your teen or teen drama, that triggers you?
- Or are you secretly afraid your child won’t make it as an adult?
I felt all of this and more until I awakened to a new mindset and practiced respectful communication skills. The more I tried to control my two young daughters when they first entered their tween years, the more friction and distance their was between us. When I learned to share vulnerably from my heart with them, they drew closer to me and sought my counsel and support naturally.
I learned to listen so my teen daughters would open up and I learned how to share my heart in an authentic way that made them want to listen to me.
In fact, those former triggers I had about sassiness and teen drama, became the things we used to connect deeply. I learned how to read the “disrespect” I perceived as their own fear, and we got to the root of it, together. I learned when to engage and when to let go. We grew closer as a result. I was able to support their launch into young adulthood.
It wasn’t always easy and it was sometimes messy. There was a divorce and family illness in the mix and the time I spent as a single parenthood was tough. But today we have honest, mutually respectful relationships. Even as young adults they seek my advice.
I want to support your parenting journey and offer you the mindset and skills that I learned to you, to help you grow the close relationship you long for with your child at every step of their development and I want to support you to learn how to grow your own rich relationship with yourself so you are ready when they launch to enjoy all life has to offer.
What is Relationship Coaching for Parents and Tweens, Teens or Launching Young Adults?
Coaching sessions occur online at a time convenient to you. You learn how apply the communication skills I teach to not only support your teen’s growth but grow ways to become your most authentic self.
I am passionate about helping parents and teens co-create the relationships they truly long to build together. That’s why I became a parent coach to help families (even those in difficult times of transition) to cultivate a more peaceful home by communicating heart to heart. The approach is called conscious co-creation. It focuses on growing the awareness and skills that parents and teens need to jointly build the relationship that work for both. I can help you get Back on Track with your tween or teen.
Recently, I’ve been helping teens launch to college or their next stage of life also. It includes making adjustments to college life.
What issues do you deal with?
Parent and Teen Relationship Coaching: I help establish respectful communication and overcome communication barriers and breakdown.
For Parents: I help parents in conflict, navigating divorce, co-parenting, single parenthood and how to embrace and enjoy your empty nests.
For Tweens, Teens and Young Adults: I help with parent problems, homework hassles, digital dangers, dating and substance abuse. I am also a chemical dependency counselor. I have even helped teens deal with the pressures of college life or a new job.
How Can I Help You?
I offer individual or group coaching packages. I have also written a book with sample conversations of conscious communication and exercises at the end of each chapter, titled How to Raise Respectful Parents: Better Communication for Teen and Parent Relationships
What can I expect?
No blame, just support, skills building and a few suggestions for a complicated world! I offer a free Back on Track Assessment Call. If we are a match, you can enter private coaching or online group coaching.
Contact me at 956-250-3689 or email, Laura@LauraLReagan.com. If time is of the essence, consider my course, Tune Into Your Teen by Tuning Into Yourself. You can find it in The Family Alchemists University.
What are other parents saying?
Laura has helped me tremendously as a parent coach! My teen son and I were estranged following difficulties with his father. And the counselor we were going to, was unable to coach me to be able to reach my teen, beyond the fences and hurt walls that he’d placed between us. Laura stepped in and with great kindness, understanding and wisdom, was able to get me to change my entire approach to parenting my teen son. Our relationship underwent a radical change as I started implementing her suggestions and advice, and he and I are now affectionate with each other, communicating about big and small matters, without any blocks, and building trust again, thanks to Laura’s knowledge and coaching, she has so professionally, kindly and generously shared with me. -Priya B., mother of teen son
Laura was a Godsend to me. With all I learned, I feel a sense of calm empowerment for the first time in YEARS! I even feel a sense of calm about my teens’ future. Before, I felt my life was flooded in chaos, but she helped me practice positive communication skills that conveyed my heart. I always looked forward to our next session. I highly recommend her! -Linda E., mother of twin teen daughters