BY Janice Johnson Pemida
It is the dream of every parent to see their children stand out and excel in their academics always. However, most parents do not know how to help their children in achieving this feat. Many feel it’s a function of the schools they attend and probably the kind of environment they are brought up in. This is not true in most cases as some kids require extra attention from the parents and care givers to be able to explore their inborn intelligence and talents. When parents are actively involved in their children’s academic growth and development, it helps the children perform better. In fact, a lot of studies have shown that what the family does is more important to a child’s academic success than how much money the family makes or how much education the parents have.
There are several ways in which parents can support their children’s learning at home. Here are five ideas to get you started:
- CLOSE MONITORING
Monitor your children by ensuring they have a schedule they follow in everything they do. For instance, there should be a time for school, a time for eating, a time for naps, a time for watching television, a time for home works, a time for reading, etc. Many a times, children get back from school and the next thing is play, watch Television, do their home works, shower and sleep. What happened to revising what they learnt in school and even learning new things ahead. All these things should be imbibed in the children from an early stage in order for them to get used to it by the time they get to high school and tertiary institutions. You can achieve this by drawing up a timetable for them which must be closely followed. The time table should contain all activities for each day including weekends. With this, even when you are too busy or not often at home with the children, it will serve as a guide for the care givers.
- CREATE TIME FOR BASIC SKILLS
Take time to discover your children’s talents or what they love doing and help them to develop it. Allow them to express themselves as much as possible. Don’t condemn them or wait for them to grow before they start working on their talents. If your child loves singing for instance, you can enroll him or her in a music class. That should be a form of extra-curricular activity. Let the child learn how to play guitar, violin, etc at a tender age. If the child loves sports, enroll him/her in sporting academy or club where his or her talents can be harnessed. Just look for something that matches the child’s interest and let them begin to develop it. Allow them to do things that seems beyond them. This will help them to always think ahead of their peers.
- HOME TUTORIALS
If you notice your child is not doing very well in some subjects, get him or her a lesson teacher who will be teaching them at home after school or during the weekends. I will suggest a teacher from the school your child attends. This is due to the fact that the teacher will know the exact areas where the child is lacking behind and where to tackle it from. The child on the other hand will be able to feel free around a familiar face.
- MIDNIGHT READING
Every good thing comes at a price, so does academic excellence. Help your children to cultivate the habit of waking in the middle of the night to read for an hour or two. This is the best time to assimilate whatever you are reading easily. I personally can testify to this because it helped me while growing up.
I remember my mum will wake me up around 1am and I will read till 2am or 3am each day. She started doing this as soon as I got to Junior high school and she continued till I graduated from Senior high school. This helped me to pass my SSSCE exams in one seating. My first attempt ever. I never wrote NECO or GCE in my life. Usually, this seems difficult in the beginning, but with time, the child will adjust and get used to it so much that when he or she gets to higher institution and move to stay away from home, that habit will just continue.
- NEVER EVER PAY FOR SPECIAL CENTRES FOR YOUR KIDS
This is one error most Nigerian parents engage in. To them, they are helping the child but indirectly they are causing a terrible harm to that child. Parents need to stop this the same way teachers (especially private school teachers) should stop helping their students to pass exams. This usually have a very devasting effect on the children especially when they get to tertiary institutions. You see tertiary students paying mercenaries to write exams for them, messing around with lecturers to pass exams, sneaking in text books and note books to exam halls, paying lecturers to upgrade their scores and engaging in many other dubious ways of passing exams. All these started from parents paying for special centers for their kids and teachers sneaking in answers to their student during external examinations. So, parents should stop encouraging such things and allow the children to read and pass by themselves. There is nothing as priceless as that feeling of passing an exam and knowing fully well that you made it all by your own efforts. It helps to build self-confidence.
In a nutshell, parents have a very significant roll to play in ensuring that their children standout and excel always in every area of their lives including their academics. Don’t just pay school fees and provide for their upkeep. No. Ensure that their every day routine is very organized and closely monitored.