We sometimes assume that it’s only schools and teachers that can influence our children’s educational achievements. But that’s not true – our time with them as parents has just as big an impact.
That impact comes from what we do and how we engage with our kids. Simple things like spending time or conversation influences their skills, knowledge and confidence, all which have an impact on achievement. Things which in the busyness of life, can be forgotten.
So here are ten simple things to make time for which will influence this development.
- Notice what your kids are interested in and doing and ask them about their stuff.
- Make time to listen attentively, even if it’s boring. I bet they’ve had to listen to you being boring at times!
- Play with their toys/games at their level, do what they tell you rather than take over.
- Watch their TV programme or game with them – their rules! Ask them about it.
- Chat about the stuff you watch or play at other times (meal times are ideal) when you’re away from screens.
- Plan some family meals/barbecues/picnics when there are no mobiles/tablets present and make time to talk. If this is hard and you’ve never done it, just chat about the current issues in the news or sport or ask them about themselves.
- Take them out to new places, especially natural environments or travel, where there is no laid on entertainment and you can engage together. Observe, discuss, speculate, question, chat.
- Get moving together. Physical activity is essential for brain development and good overall health.
- Involve them with daily life activities, decision making and jobs in a way that shows them that you value and respect their help, opinion and company. Even something as mundane as the weekly shop is an opportunity to share and talk.
- Relax and enjoy your children and young people. You don’t get a second chance to be with them, engage with them, or raise them to be the people you want them to be who will make their own valuable contribution to society one day, as you are doing, through your parental teaching.