How to

Help kids learn

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Help kids learn to the best of their ability with these effective learning tips

If you have a child who is looking for a leg up in school, there are all kinds of different approaches you can take. There are some basic guidelines you can follow that are quite a bit different in their scope but really can end up with roughly the same outcome.

Some parents feel that in order to help kids learn, they have to be sitting right beside them as much as possible. If the child has a problem, the parent is there to bail them out and walk them through the solution.

Another kind of parent is going to be one that is on the opposite end of the spectrum. These parents still care that their children are struggling, but they believe that the child must pull themselves out of the tailspin in order to really learn.

And then of course there are parents that are in the middle of the pack, who take a little from column A and a little from column B.

Do they have the right tools? 

The first step in making sure that your child is learning to their utmost potential is to make sure they are working with the right materials. Make sure that they are not wanting for anything such as mechanical pencils or the right kind of paper or enough erasers to last through the school year. Even getting them the right student accessories that will keep them organized such as folders and three ring binders can mean the difference between an A and a C, or a C and an F.

If it's financially possible, having access to a laptop or desktop computer with Internet access is another critical tool for students in today's world. In some school districts, loaner computers and low cost Internet access is available. 

The gift of a supportive home

Of course, all the top of the line materials in the world aren't going to help your kid where it matters most if they aren't getting the right kind of help at home. 

Successful students typically have someone at home cheering them on. Knowing that doing well in school matters to their parents (or grandparents, aunts, uncles, or even older siblings) can go a long way towards creating students who do well. Having a trusted adult who will help with difficult work and provide encouragement when the going gets tough is priceless. If a kid knows someone has their back, they'll be far more willing to reach higher and accept bigger challenges. 

Good examples

When it comes to creating great students, all the "do this" statements in the world won't make a lick of difference if what kids see their parents doing is something else entirely. If you want kids who are good readers, put down the remote and pick up a book. Hoping to raise kids who will take a chance on harder classes and tough majors? Let them see you standing up when things get hard instead of taking the easy road. 

Goal setting skills

They say that someone who doesn't know where they're headed will probably get there. The problem is, the "there" might not be anywhere you might want to go. 

Teaching kids how to identify goals, and work to make them happen is one of the greatest gifts you can give to help them avoid many frustrations, while maximizing their chance of doing well in school, at work and in life. 

Let them learn from consequences

There is a trend in education and in parenting to make sure no one feels like they're not as good as someone else. That's why every child gets some kind of award at the annual assembly, and everyone on the team gets a ribbon or trophy. 

I'm sure the people who started this approach had good intentions, but the result has been disasterous. An entire generation of kids is growing up believing that they deserve all those rewards even when they aren't the best, didn't win and possibly didn't even try. When the kids get to college, they're shocked to discover that the constant hand holding and equalizing has vanished. And once they get out into the workplace...well, you can imagine the rest!

Instead of worrying about hurting their feelings if they don't get that meaningless certificate, teach your kids that in the real world there are very real consequences to working hard, having talent, goofing off or being unprepared. 

They might not like the lessons now, but when they're faced with real challenges in life, your kids will be the ones ready to face them head on. 

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