You send your child to school and presume everything possible will be done on your child’s behalf. He will be taught by the best teachers in the world, be motivated to achieve to his full potential, and will become an engaged, responsible person who will become a contributing member of society. Right? Well, maybe. The truth is that schools can’t do it all. While many teachers and schools are extraordinary, parents have to realize that they can’t just imagine that all will proceed according to the dream.
It takes a village!
It takes a village to raise a child is an often-quoted African saying, and nothing could be more true than when it comes to developing an individual in a well-rounded way. The easy truth is that there are activities you can implement that will require minimal, if any, money or time, but will result in amazing growth for your child.
- Help elevate your child’s vocabulary. Declare certain words off-limits in your home and make it a family adventure to find new vocabulary to replace some commonly used terminology. Instead of using the word “said” try mentioned, remarked, stated, declared, revealed, asserted, pronounced, or proclaimed. When someone uses a figure of speech like drives me crazy, try having a child draw a picture of the literal meaning, as well as a picture of the message he’s trying to convey. Helping children consider multiple meanings and usage of words will help expand their vocabulary and improve their reading fluency and comprehension.
- Let your child be in charge of more transactions. Have a conversation to prepare him first, and then have your child retrieve the clothes from the laundry, ask for the stamps at the post office, or pose the question that needs to be asked of the saleslady. Teaching your child how to interact with adults, make eye contact during a conversation, shake hands when meeting someone, or respond appropriately when spoken to will help him become a more independent person.
- Make it a family affair to give back to the community in some way. Donate items that are no longer in use at your home, volunteer at a retirement center to help residents with one of their activities, and let your children see that all of you are committed to providing assistance in a way that makes sense to you.
- Become involved in one of the programs at the public library. Resources such as books, audio books, and movies can be accessed for free, while additional programming will often be available that can pique your interest.
- Make a plan that includes daily physical activity. The benefits will be seen by all of you physically, emotionally, and mentally.
- In addition to a physical endeavor, you should make it a family experience to engage in some time of quiet contemplative practice every single day. Dr. Ken Ginsberg, pediatrician and author of several books on building resiliency in children and adolescents, as well as Dr. Sandra Chapman, founder and chief director of University of Texas at Dallas’ Center for BrainHealth, both speak about the need for this type of daily activity; it will help develop social emotional growth that will last a lifetime.
No matter the schedule of your days, there will always be time to incorporate some activities that will help your child be more successful in school and in life!
Give it a try!