Parents naturally want the best for their kids, but knowing how to provide that isn’t always straightforward. When should you be strict, easygoing, or follow the advice in the latest parenting magazine? What we do know for sure is that giving kids a strong education will help prepare them for a better life.
In fact, success as adults can be predicted as early as kindergarten! Kids who demonstrate strong social skills at that age; cooperating with others, helping peers, and resolving conflicts, were more likely to earn college degrees and well-paying jobs (1).
As key skills and learning are being developed from a young age, what can parents do to give their children every possible advantage?
Here are 3 ideas to get started.
We’ve heard this many times, but likely because it’s true! Children who eat a healthy breakfast before school experience enhanced academic performance, concentration and cognitive functioning (2). Sometimes this is the only meal we have full control over and a healthy one can set our kids up for a full day of energy.
Common foods with powerful learning benefits:
- Eggs – contain Choline, a neurotransmitter that helps improve our memory function.
- Blueberries – have flavonoids that can improve reasoning skills and our ability to recall information.
- Avocados – contain elements that protect the nerve cells in our brain that carry information.
Develop a dialogue with their teacher
Teachers have often taught hundreds of kids by the time your child joins their class. They have acquired a wealth of good tips, tricks, and practices you can utilize to help your child learn outside the classroom, and are eager to share these with parents. By incorporating these ideas into homework practice, life experiences, and social interactions, you’re amplifying the learning value they receive in school.
One example of this is to create a simple system to help your child stay on top of homework. Kids can feel overwhelmed at times with different subjects, assignments, and test dates. Help them create an organized way to feel comfortable with what is expected for their schoolwork. It will reduce stress on them and make completing tasks more satisfying.
Strengthen their working memory
What is working memory? It is key to learning and sometimes referred to as short-term memory. We use it to remember lists of items, store information for immediate use as in math or reading. It is key for kids to have strong working memory when learning new information (3).
Some great ways to strengthen working memory.
- Have your child teach you – encouraging them to verbally describe the lesson, be it math, science, or reading, helps them more thoroughly understand the concepts related to that topic. The repetition strengthens their memory of the lesson, and forces them to see the information from another perspective (teacher vs student).
- Play card games – games like Uno, Crazy Eights, and Go Fish all help develop stronger working memory in kids.
- Practice Active Reading – when your child reads a book or story, have them underline or highlight key phrases and sections of the book. Ask them to jot down notes in the side columns; questions they have about the story, or emotions they experience while reading.
At Story Academy, we love sharing ideas with other parents for better learning and education. All of our books provide positive social lessons and multi-cultural experiences for kids. You can find the full selection here!
(1) American Public Health Association: http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2015.302630
(2) Ministry of Education, British Columbia