Family Engagement Tips January 21 - 27
Monday, January 21
Help your child learn about Martin Luther King, Jr.
Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Celebrate with your child by helping her research facts about King's life and work. What causes did he support? What did he believe in? Talk with your child about the concept of injustice. You may also want to read King's "I Have a Dream" speech together. Then talk about King's dreams and your child's dreams for a better future.
Tuesday, January 22
Turn a walk into a fun way to learn
Sometimes the best way for a child to learn about the world is to get out in it. Try taking a "Stop, Look and Listen Walk" together. Walk for 100 steps, then stop for 30 seconds and make a record of everything you see and hear. Or take a "Question Walk," and think of questions about what you see (Why don't pine trees lose their needles?). Help your child find the answers when you get home.
Wednesday, January 23
Help your child plan for better book reports
Kids have an easier time writing book reports when they have read the book all the way to the end. Help your child pace his reading by dividing the number of pages in the book by the number of days until his report is due (minus a couple of days for writing). Ask him questions about what he reads (When and where does the story take place? What was the most interesting part?). When it's time, he'll be ready to write.
Thursday, January 24
Point out strengths when your child struggles
Even the most capable children sometimes complain, "I'll never get this! I'm stupid!" If you let this go on, your child will think she can't do well and may not even try. Instead, remind her of her past successes. Talk about ways her hard work has paid off. Put setbacks into perspective by saying things like, "You got a bad grade, but you gave it a good try. Let's talk about things you can do to improve."
Friday, January 25
Volunteering builds children's compassion and confidence
Children gain new skills, compassion and self-esteem when they help others. This translates into an increased sense of confidence that will help your child succeed in school. When looking for a volunteer opportunity for your family, try to find something that matches your child's interests; if he loves animals, perhaps you can all volunteer in an animal shelter. After volunteering, ask your child what he learned.
Saturday, January 26
Don't let screen life replace real life
We are all spending more time online these days. But it's important to make sure that recreational screen time isn't crowding out other activities in your child's life. How many hours does she spend watching TV, texting, playing games or browsing online? Is it affecting her schoolwork? Does she have time for reading, exercise and family? Establish limits and promote other activities when screens are off.
Sunday, January 27
Use positive ways to promote better writing
When your child shows you something he's written, your response can motivate him to improve. Instead of pointing out mistakes, begin by praising something specific. "This phrase is very lively!" Next, comment on the point your child is making. Ask questions to help him clarify or add details, such as "Can you give some reasons why you think that?" Then let your child handle the revisions.