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Academic Development

Elementary School

Students in elementary school should learn proper time management skills to help them succeed. The habits you start now are the ones students will keep throughout their lives, so when you help children learn to effectively manage their time, you help set them up for success.

Give your elementary schooler the tools needed for learning

A carpenter would never come to a job site without a box of tools. He knows that he can't do his best work without the proper tools for the task.
That's a good way to think about how your child can do her best in school. She needs to show up with the right tools to do the job . Here are a few:
  • Enough sleep. Doctors say that children between the ages of seven and 12 need 10 to 12 hours of sleep per day. Without proper rest, she won't be able to concentrate on the multiplication tables or her history lesson. So do some math yourself. When does your child need to leave for school in the morning? When does she need to get up to be ready at that time? Ten to 12 hours before that is when she needs to go to bed.
  • A healthy breakfast. Cars can't run without fuel, and kids' brains are no different. Many studies show that children who eat breakfast do better in class, earning better grades and test scores. They are better able to focus. And they have fewer behavior problems. And don't worry if your child doesn't like "breakfast food." Peanut butter on a tortilla or a slice of pizza will give her a great start.
  • High expectations. When you believe your child can do her best, she'll believe it, too. So send her off with a big smile and she'll have the confidence she needs to tackle another day.
Reprinted with permission from the October 2010 issue of Parents Make the Difference!® (Elementary School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2010 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Sources: WebMD, "How Much Sleep Do Children Need?"

Establish homework routines for long-term school success

Imagine your child is a high schooler with hours of homework every day. How would he handle it? Help him prepare now by instilling basic study skills. The habits your child develops in elementary school will last a lifetime!
You can instill good study habits if you:
  • Enforce a study time. Choose one that works best for your child. Some kids need to blow off steam right after school, while others like to finish homework right away. Pick the time that works best for your child -- and stick with it!
  • Create a study space. Make sure your child has a quiet, comfortable place to work. It should be free of distractions, especially noise from the TV. Stay nearby to supervise, and set a good example by reading or taking care of your responsibilities.
  • Finish early. Long-term assignments are perfect opportunities to teach the value of planning. If your child has to write a book report, for example, split the project into parts and set a deadline for each one. Ideally, it will be finished with time to spare.
  • Compliment success. How does it feel to work hard and see results? To do well on tests? To complete projects early? (Great!) Discuss this with your child. "I love what you did! "You really took the time to be creative!" "You got an A because you studied every day. You earned it!" "Doesn't it feel great to be done? Now you can relax. Let's do something fun!"
Reprinted with permission from the September 2010 issue of Parents Make the Difference!® (Elementary School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2010 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Source: "Helping Your Child With Homework," U.S. Department of Education,