In the last article of this series, let us look into how parents can supplement school to bring about social and emotional learning such that there is a continuous process of well-being for the child.
Things that can be done with schools to aid learning are:
- Focus on the value of learning- Ask the child what they learnt in school. Don’t just focus on the academics. Ask how your child gets along with other students and how he or she feels about school. Learning is for life and not just for exams. It is also helpful to talk about what your child has learned during the course of your day.
- Focus on creating a positive learning environment at home- A routine helps in creating the same, also make sure you define a specific place for homework. Limit the amount of TV. Make sure that your home has plenty of books, magazines and newspapers. Also, minimize your use of gadgets when you are with your children.
- Set up a school bulletin at home- Display the school calendar and other flyers from the school. Help your child get involved in interesting and worthwhile school activities.
- Listen when your child talks about school- Pay attention to what your child has to say about the school and the people there. If your child is happy with the school and its activities, communicate the same to the teacher/authorities. Conversely, if the child seems bored, frustrated or lonely at school, call a teacher or counsellor to see what can be done improve the situation.
- Help your child with the schoolwork- This does not mean doing the child’s work! But do assist in setting priorities for schoolwork. For example, difficult assignments can be done first when the child has maximum energy.
- Take advantage of school meetings- Many schools offer this and sometimes it becomes a bother for the parents to attend it. But it makes sense to make use of the opportunity to discuss all that is of concern to you regarding the child and his/her school activities.
- Volunteer at school- By doing this, you can better understand how you can support your child’s learning at home.
- Attend school activities- Whenever possible attend your child’s plays, sporting events or science fairs. Your presence shows that your child’s interests and work are important to you. It can also give you a chance to meet other parents and school staff.
- Make a group- Discuss and observe how else you can bring about social and emotional learning for your children.
- Encourage good communication with the school- This will help in your child’s education. Take your child’s teacher’s inputs for suggested activities at home to support skills the child is learning at school.
According to a research conducted recently, students who experience strong connections between their home and their school:
– Attend school on a more regular basis and achieve higher scores on standardized tests;
-Have better records of attendance;
-Are less likely to be placed in special education;
-Are more likely to avoid high-risk behaviours such as substance abuse or violence;
-Show improved behaviour at home and school; and
– Display better social skills and adjustment at school.
Children learn important lessons about emotions from their parents. When parents threaten or punish children for a display of emotion, children learn that emotions are dangerous and it is to be held inside. This can lead to depression or unchecked rage later on in life. Parents are like ’emotional coaches”. When children learn to express feelings and respect others, they become happier and healthier. Such children are less likely to have problems with depression, violence, or other mental health issues as they grow older.
This learning is a lifelong process and not just something that children stop when they leave school.