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Homework for Helping Your Child Make the Grade


With the school year more than half over, now is a perfect time to have an open dialogue about school, and perhaps “up your parenting game.” Don’t get me wrong, monitoring homework, test scores and communicating with your child’s teacher are important, but what are some big picture considerations that are often overlooked by parents?

Here are a few key parental strategies to consider:

Emotional Stability
According to Paul Rabara, an educational technologist based in Orange County and father of two, emotional stability is more critical than ever. “Kids need to handle difficulties and setbacks without parents trying to always fix the problem or reward the child because they feel bad that things didn’t work out. It’s healthy for kids to feel challenged and experience failure,” explains Rabara.

Talking & Listening
Talking and listening play major roles in children’s academic success. After the holidays were over, that’s exactly what I did with my nine-year-old. Using open-ended questions, I was able to engage in a meaningful, casual conversation about school and life.

My daughter and I following a school concert.

My daughter and I following a school concert.

At the end of our talk, she then jotted down  her goals, and how she planned to reach them.

Honesty Is the Best Policy
When talking with my daughter about the areas she could improve upon, I approached the entire conversation with thoughtful honesty. Rabara adds, “Honesty is the best thing for children to hear. When parents make excuses for their children, children do not benefit. There is a sense of togetherness when parents speak from the heart.”

Just Be
On a final note, Rabara encourages parents to allow more downtime and less screen time. “As a family, we’re maintaining what John Dewey believed to be essential for childhood – that’s an incubation period in life. A time when it is OK just to be. We need more of that.”

Kristal Zacharias is the mother of two beautiful, vivacious girls, and wife of a hunky husband who works in the action sports industry. For the past 15 years, Kristal has worked for several Fortune 500 companies as a professional communicator. Follow her journey at Clearly Kristal or on Facebook and Twitter.


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  1. These are great tips. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Great Tips! My oldest will start Kindergarten next year (yes, I am freaking out) and I need all the tips I can get!

  3. These are great tips! My oldest will be in Kindergarten next year (yes, I am freaking out) and I need all the tips I can get 🙂

  4. These are great tips! We often have conversations with our kids at the end of the day every day asking about school. Using open ended questions lets them talk more. I like hearing their stories.

  5. What great tips. I just tweeted them to our readers.

  6. great tips for any parent, thanks

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