Since back to school season is upon us, I’ve been thinking about my grandson who will be entering 4th grade and the two other grandkids who won’t be far behind him! If you are a grandparent you know how much you love those little stinkers and that there is not anything in the world you wouldn’t do for them. Do you know that whether you live near the grandkids or far away that you can help your grandchild succeed at school? And that starts when they are babies – not just when they go to Kindergarten.
So, in honor of “back-to-school” season, I’ve asked my friend and long-time educator, Shelley Merchant to guest post on this topic. Shelley’s blog is Taming Frenzy and her mission is to help busy working women improve their lives while managing the multiple demands on their time!
13 Things To Help Your Grandchild Succeed At School
My friends who are grandparents tell me it’s the most wonderful experience ever! A little bundle of pure love that you get to send home to Mommy and Daddy when you’re tired. My own mother used to describe being a grandparent as “joy multiplied, worry divided.”
As a former teacher and administrator, I’ve seen first hand how a grandparent’s influence, skills, perspective, and resources can have a great impact on a child’s education.
Here is my list of 13 Things To Help Your Grandchild Succeed At School
Foster a Love of Reading
A child who loves to read will become a good reader. And a good reader has the foundation to learn anything.
- Make story time with your grandchild a priority from the time they’re born. From the time they’re old enough to sit on your lap, read books to them. Children learn a lot from this:
- How to hold a book.
- That the marks on the pages represent words.
- How pages are turned.
- That pictures add context to the written word.
- That reading is an activity which can calm us, excite us, inspire us, teach us, and transport us to new and exciting worlds.
Research shows that children who are read to from an early age approach reading as a desirable activity and are more likely to become life-long readers. If you did nothing else, this is an incredible gift!
- Give books as gifts and keep age appropriate books at your house.
- Take them to the library or the bookstore. While there you can:
- Point out that there are many different kinds of stories. Explain that different people enjoy different genres and that all have value.
- Introduce them to a wide variety of magazines that are published and let them peruse some that are written for children their age.
Play Games and Put Together Puzzles Together
- Play Cards and Board Games – Games like Old Maid, Go Fish and Checkers help your grandchild master and refine skills while they are having fun. Games help children learn to count, recognize shapes, colors, and symbols.
- Put Together Puzzles – Puzzles teach kids to look at the big picture while also focusing on minute details.
Playing games and putting together puzzles help children learn:
- How to take turns.
- How to work and play cooperatively with others.
- How to pay attention.
- How to focus effort and energy.
All of these are skills that a child needs to learn and that can have a major impact on their readiness for school and their ability to interact successfully with the school environment.
How much you are able to be present is largely affected by how close you live to your grandchild, but as you are able:
- Attend events at school – Open House, special programs and sporting events.
- Have lunch at school with your grandchild.
- Volunteer at their school.
Throughout their lives
- Talk about the importance of education. Give specific examples of how you used something you learned in school. This helps children understand that even if they don’t think a subject or concept is important right now, it may be in the future.
- Take your grandchild to an event at your alma mater or nearby college. Something like attending a football game is exciting and very likely to make the prospect of attending college appealing.
- Continue to model reading! Talk to your grandchild about what type of books and/or magazines you like to read. Let them see you reading the newspaper, your Kindle, or articles on the computer.
- Talk about your occupation. Why did you choose the career path you did? How did it fit with your natural skills and interests? If you were choosing today, would you make the same choices?
- Contribute to their college fund! Money set aside will grow right along with the child. This sets the expectation that education beyond high school, be it college, trade or technical training is a good thing.
You’re a bigger influence than you realize
It’s easy to think that parents are the only ones who will shape a child’s attitudes when it comes to learning. But grandparents have more of an influence than you might think.
A listening ear or encouraging word when they are frustrated or discouraged can be just the thing your grandchild needs to keep trying.
Whether you live near a grandchild or far away, your support and participation will have a lasting impact on your grandchild’s love of learning!
More from Shelley:
Inspiration for the Midlife Journey
Subscribe to My Side of 50 and get an e-mail every week with content that will entertain, educate and inspire you on your midlife journey!
Shelley, the blogger behind Taming Frenzy, worked as a public school teacher and administrator before making the career change to become a blogger and fiction writer. Her passion is helping busy working women deal with the frustration of too many demands as they work to improve their lives. She's the parent of three young adult children and a huge fan of Vanilla Coke Zero and disaster movies.