Parent Involvement

Help your student

The Gift of Time
How Parents Can Help Their Children At Home

    Advertisers urge us to buy, buy, buy.   The messages are so pervasive and so powerful that we can easily confuse love with giving expensive toys and clothes to our children.  That is exactly the message media advertisers want us to have.

    Actually, the greatest gift we can give our children is the time we spend with them.  Time.  Time talking.  Time playing.  Time reading.  Time together.  In fact, research shows again and again that those children who have significant time with the adults in their lives are happier, more secure, and do better in school.  Best of all, the gift of time does not cost a cent.  What are some of those things you can do that will make a powerful difference with your child’s performance in school?

    Read to your child.  Children who have been read to from infancy on, learn the language of books.  They learn how books work.  We don’t often use phrases like Once upon a time… when we speak, but we hear that language in stories.   Children learn to expect “book language” when they begin reading themselves so the language is no surprise. 

    Talk to your child.  Talk about interesting things in the news or happenings in the neighborhood.  Children learn important vocabulary as well as the grammar of our language when you talk to them. 

    Listen to your child.  Talk is not a one-way street.  When young children talk, they experiment with the language they’ve heard. They make language work for them.  The more comfortable they are with expressing themselves, the easier reading and writing are for them in school. 

    Encourage your child to write.  If you’ve been reading to your child, your child has the idea of stories; create your own storybooks at home.  Ask him to write items on the grocery list. (Shopping will be fun as you figure out that kfe means coffee.)  Or ask him to write to-do lists or a note to Grandma to attach to the door as a greeting when she visits.  Children will learn that through writing we convey meaning.

    Play with numbers.  Number games are great in the car.  Your child can count animals, red cars, whatever.  If you have a dog and two cats, how many animal feet are in your house?  How many black feet?  White feet?  How many glasses of milk a day does your child drink?  How many does the whole family drink?  The possibilities are endless.  When children are comfortable with numbers and can manipulate them mentally, school mathematics is much easier.

    Encourage your child to read aloud.  When your child starts learning to read and takes the little books home, encourage her to read aloud to you, to younger sisters, brothers, cousins or children down the street.  She will love having an audience.  The benefit is the more your child practices, the better she’ll read in school.

    If you use the public library, not a one of these activities will cost a cent, yet all of them will not only tell your child you love him but will help in building a strong foundation in the three major areas—reading, writing and mathematics.  All you have to do is to give your child is your time.  The time you spend will make a powerful difference to his learning—from kindergarten through high school.