Term 2 is the time when school really gets serious for many teachers and their students.
The getting to know you phase of Term 1 is over, learning has well and truly begun and this term, reports will be on their way home too.
So, how can you help your child to thrive in Term 2?
Teacher and Kids First Children’s Services Founder, Sonja Walker, shares 5 top tips to build your child’s confidence this term.
1. Keep up with home reading
It doesn’t matter if your child is 6 or 16, reading for leisure and for learning is important for kids of all ages, and daily reading during Term 2 should be encouraged. Yes, I know there’s lots of competition these days and kids are sometimes much keener to read what’s on a ‘screen’ than what’s on a page, but the standards you set now will help your child to build life-long literacy skills. Encourage your child to be a member of the local library, and if you have a reluctant reader, seek advice from the librarians there because they always have great ideas about the latest and coolest books. Don’t forget that kids of all ages love to be read to, so at bed-time, your older primary schoolers might enjoy the chance to read alternating chapters of their new novel with you. And before we leave this top tip, perhaps it’s wise to consider the example you’re setting when it comes to reading too? If kids are told to put screens away, but you are secretly checking your Facebook or email accounts every 10 minutes, you’re not being much of a digitally-detoxed role model, are you?
2. Keep on top of homework
In Term 2, homework and assignments are part of the assessment program that teachers use to write their mid-year reports. Now is the time to do everything you can to help your child be organised and prepared to research, review and write at home. Of course you know that your child will do best when he or she has a designated spot in which to do homework, but don’t forget they need resources to be able to finish the work they’re expected to start. Disorganised children are often expert procrastinators whose searches for an elusive ruler, pencil sharpener or USB stick can lead to frustrating delays that not only waste valuable time, but also cause conflict. Regardless of whether your child is in Year 2 or Year 10, make sure that all the tools they need are stored close to where they will be working so that homework time does not become a hassle.
3. Keep in touch with the teacher
By the start of Term 2, the things that your child is enjoying at school this year should be reasonably obvious. If you have a masterful young mathematician, dazzling dancer or uniquely creative writer, that’s great – but if your child one of the many kids who is hanging out for recess, lunch-time and the 3.00pm bell, you may have to keep a closer eye on what is happening in the classroom and playground this term. School isn’t always an easy place for kids, and for some children Term 2 can be a tough time because the curriculum can take off and leave them lagging behind. For students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 NAPLAN can cause the odd palpitation, and half yearly exams also rock around faster than some high schoolers expect them to. If you suspect that your child is struggling (or conversely excelling and not being challenged enough) catch up with the teacher – but be mindful about when you schedule parent-teacher meetings. The end of Term 2 is report time, and for many teachers the period between weeks 7 and 9 is a frantic period of marking, tallying and writing. By all means, touch base with your child’s teacher, but be sensitive to their workload. Make appointments early in Term 2 so that you can be on the front foot as you support your child and work collaboratively with teachers.
4. Keep your mind open to other options
For children who are struggling, or indeed succeeding, there are always ways to make school more enjoyable. If you have a capable child who enjoys learning, be on the lookout for extension opportunities like public speaking competitions, debating or after school clubs that sometimes kick off in Term 2 with the teachers who have not been assigned coaching duties for winter sports. Equally, if you are the parent of a child who is struggling, try to find sensitive ways in which to support them. Tutoring that is offered by a qualified teacher in a small group or individual setting might be a great boost for your child’s classroom skills, but don’t forget to search for other activities that make your child’s heart sing. Could a taekwondo or karate club help your child who lacks focus to build concentration and confidence? Could an art, robotics or model making class suit your shy or introverted child? There are lots of hobbies and interests out there to try, and finding one that becomes your child’s passion could unlock their potential too.
5. Keep a close eye on overwhelm
In today’s world, we parents are keen to give our children as many opportunities as we can to discover their gifts, but as the winter term rolls in, kids who are out five nights a week after school often just end up getting sick and then sharing the gift of bugs and germs with the whole family. As an adult, you know how easy it is to get run down, and with the constant pressure and activity of school, kids are just the same. This term, keep a close watch on your child’s fatigue levels and try, if you can, not to let them over-commit to too many after school activities. It doesn’t matter if it’s a part-time job, or training sessions to become Australia’s next Olympian, children who are juggling the demands of school and extra-curricular activities need space to breathe too. This term, try to make sure they get it.
© 2018 Sonja Walker
Kids First Children’s Services
Want to help your child to succeed in Term 2?
Regardless of whether your child is 5 or 15, the Kids First team is here to make Term 2 easier for your child. Our speech pathologists help children who struggle with literacy, and our occupational therapists have lots of handwriting, memory and concentration tips to share. Our psychologists have years of experience helping anxious children and those who are experiencing friendship or family worries, and our primary and high school teachers make a real difference with pressure-free tutoring that is actually fun.
If you would like more information about how we can help your child, please contact us on 9938 5419 or complete the ‘Contact Us’ form below.