Most kids are back to school and getting back into the grove of learning and improving. As parents we want our children to succeed and be their best. We have been asked from time to time about how to help children succeed in school. I would like to propose a process of how not only to help your children to succeed in school but in life. The process is basically the same and the habits are similar.
A little bit of a disclaimer, I or my wife are in no way child development experts. However, we do see all kinds of children each week and based on those who have succeeded in life we can make some general assumptions that may help with your children. Also both my wife and I come from large families with lots of siblings. Both of us has been involved with child care for a good portion of our lives. So we know a thing or two and want to help out where and when we can.
Let’s get started with the first and maybe the most important.
Schedule: Every successful person has a set schedule and doesn’t deviate from it very often. That being said schedules can change and evolve and they should. But remember you are the boss when it comes to children and they do not have the foresight and the background to make many types of decisions. A set schedule has the following elements
- When the child gets up
- When they eat breakfast
- When they leave for school
- When they go to after school activities
- When they do their homework
- When they eat dinner
- When they go to bed
I left out all the stuff while they are at school because it is already scheduled. These are really the basics. The times will vary depending on the family and the child.
Sleep time: Children need allot of sleep and usually have to get up early to get ready and get to school. They need to be in bed at a time that will give them 9 to 10 hrs of sleep. A preteen should be in bed before 9pm and even earlier like 8pm if you can swing it.
Eating times: Our bodies run best on schedules, so we need to eat at pretty much the same time on most days. This along with a good diet rich in macro and micro nutrients will also help with energy, fatigue and over all health. Also if a child is super active and you are not feeding them properly it will cause fatigue, illness and overall poor performance across all areas of their lives. Children have specific nutritional needs and active children have an even more specific dietary need that goes beyond just more calories. So be careful and ask questions of knowledgeable people if your child is very active.
Homework; We all have our opinions on this subject. The point here is let kids be kids, they need to play and be who they are. They will have a life time to be an adult with all of it’s issues. Kids need to play, explore and have fun. Sometimes certain school paths will prohibit kids being kids and replace it with homework and more studying. The best most adjusted adults that I have been around and I have been around the best and brightest in their fields didn’t graduate early from high school and didn’t earn college credits while in high school. All that being said try to have a regular time that your child does homework and in a place with little distractions.
Activities: One of biggest downfalls of success in children is over scheduling them. While they need to be active and social, over scheduling will prohibit the ability to effectively do homework, eat at a regular period and may cause fatigue and illness. It can also limit their success in the classroom.
All the above comes down to balance. Remember that getting ahead in life will require a sacrifice of something, do we want our kids to sacrifice being kids to start being adults at an earlier age. We see way to many families that are out of balance especially in the activity scheduling areas. Try to keep it simple and balance all needs and desires so that optimum performance is achieved in all areas.