A homework station: I don't know about you, but homework still isn't my favorite thing and now it is my kids and not mine. Having everything that we need right in one place makes homework time as stress free as possible. We try to keep crayons, markers, glue sticks, scissors and mostly importantly pencils and erasers in an easily accessible place. Last year I made this lazy Susan organizer and it has worked great for us. Keep everything ready to go. I buy a bunch of glue sticks and crayons when they are cheap at the beginning of the school year and then just replace them as necessary.
A homework routine: Do you do homework right as the kids come home from school? Do you have a snack first? Try to get them into the habit of doing the same things every day so they know what is expected. I also try to occupy younger siblings to keep homework time quiet and less stressful.
Good food: We tried the whole school lunch thing and realized my daughter just wasn't eating it. Kids need good fuel for a long day at school so now I pack a lunch I know she will eat. Do what works best for your kid whether that is packing lunch every day or buying it, picking the right one will keep your kid functioning their best.
Physical Activity: Researchers in Rome found that when a child exercised right before they took a test, their scores improved by an average of 10%. A good way to use this study to help your child is to take stretch breaks during studying. Stop and have your child do 10 jumping jacks in between problems. You can also enroll them in sports. Anything that gets them moving is good for their school work.
Establish a bedtime routine and help your child wind down. We used to put my daughter to bed plenty early enough each night, but somehow she would wake up still tired. We tried putting her to bed earlier with no success. We realized that she was staying up for hours after we had put her to be reading. While we were happy she was reading, she just wasn't ready for school the next day, so we worked hard on establishing a good bed routine to help her in the morning.
- Set them up to be ready for bed. I try really hard not to let me daughter nap at all when she gets home. It is just setting her up to be up late.
- Do the same things over and over. For us it is pajama, teeth brushed, story and bed. She knows what comes next so it helps her wind down. We also play the same CD of lullabies every night. I never change it. Having the same music helps signal to her that it is time for me.
- Set up the right environment for them to be able to sleep. My daughter for years slept on an old mattress that we got from my in-laws. It never occurred to me that her mattress might be part of the problem until one night I ended up falling asleep in her bed and MAN was I sore in the morning. When I asked her about her mattress she told me it always poked her. How could I expect her to have a good night sleep on something that I wouldn't have one on?
We have been looking at a SleepIQ Kids bed. It allows them to change the comfort settings as they grow and they have a fantastic head tilt feature that is good for reading in bed for helping clear a stuffy head. The bed also alerts you if you kid is out of bed or restless. This is the number 1 feature I wish I had years ago. It could have saved us months of a sleepy student if I had realized she wasn't actually going to bed.
My favorite part of this best is the monster detector. I love that they are addressing a issue that almost all kids have. Anything that helps my child sleep better, makes everyone's life better.
What do you do to help your kids succeed in school?