My daughter is in first grade this year. It has been quite a transition from kindergarten, but she and I are learning to navigate it one day at a time. She is a great kid at school, but she has been a bit behind her peers when it comes to reading and math.
We are just wrapping up her third semester ever in elementary school and I’ve come to learn a few things when it comes to being her advocate for school. I am by no means and expert yet, but I think I’ve narrowed down a few tips that may help you navigate those early elementary years as well.
Communication is Key
I’ve noticed that no news from school doesn’t necessarily mean everything is fine. That’s not to say it’s anyone’s fault, as teachers are very overwhelmed and underpaid, but sometimes you, as a parent, need to reach out for an update and not wait around for those quarterly report cards. If you suspect your child may be struggling, ask now, not later.
Every Child Learns Differently
It’s important to understand that all children learn differently. Fortunately, teachers are trained to differentiate their instruction in order to teach children who learn differently from each other. Because we all know that what works for one child may not work for another. If you feel like your child may be struggling with learning a certain way, don’t be afraid to ask the teacher for ideas on other ways to help your child grasp the concepts. There are plenty of ways you can help your child at home. Making things into games is always a winner for us.
Your Child May Be Behind
If your child is a little behind the others in their class, that is OK. There is such a range at this age on what they are able to absorb and master. My daughter needed some help with reading to catch up to her peers abilities, so she has intervention at school as well as private tutoring. In order to help our daughter we are intentional about reading with her at home and making it an enjoyable experience.
Comparison Will Be Your Downfall
Comparing your child’s abilities to other children will not get you anywhere. Meeting your child right where they are, and with who they are, will always be the golden ticket to success.
Focus on Helping Them Just Be a Good Human
That’s really the end goal after all; to help our kids along in life so in the end they are just good humans. We want our children to be people who contribute to society with their strengths no matter what that is. People who include others and see the good in the world. People who help rather than hurt.
Elementary school is a learning experience for all, whether you’re the parent or the child. But it’s also a great time to watch how your child grows and blossoms each and every year.