The right parenting education helps your child of divorce to perform better at school. Once the school is chosen, you cannot influence very much what is going on inside. But you can shape the optimal conditions and environment for your children for the best possible performance at school. Here is a list of things you can do to help your child:
Good food increases the performance of everyone. Healthy food is extremely important for the well being of children. Both in the short term as in the long term.
We are not dietists, but a healthy diet contains many fresh fruits and vegetables, naturally raised beef, whole grains, whole wheat, nuts and seeds. But be careful with fats. Avoid the bad fats. Avoid sugar and soft drinks, avoid products with fructose corn syrup.
Drink lots of water.
Variation in food is important too. Avoid deep freeze meals, hamburgers, french fries, pizza's etc and canned food. Go for fresh instead.
The breakfast gives your children the energy they need during the morning hours until lunch. If they eat too little in the morning, there concentration at school will drop a long time before they have lunch.
As we all know, sleep is key to perform and to concentrate. Children that sleep too little might even fell asleep during class hours. If they do'nt, they only concentrate at fighting falling asleep during class hours. Their learning capabilities diminish significantly.
Children who get enough sleep feel strong, self confident, have a lot of energy, are able to focus and to concentrate. They are more relaxed and the have more fun.
Many researchers found that physical activity is good for the performance at school. However, the level of physical activity must be high. A study of the ACMS learned that children doing moderate physical excercise during 30 minutes 5 days a week did not show improved school results.
By doing physical activity children stay more focussed. It reduced boredom. Physical excercise and especially in team sports improves motoric skills, improve their self confidence, help develop teamwork ablities and social conduct.
Get up and wake your children providing enough time to have breakfast
Let them arrive at school at least 10 to 15 minutes before starting time
After school: make your child clear where he or she has to go. What he needs to do when you are not at home. Organize backup support from a neighbour who is usually at home during the day.
Daily routines is about the everyday stuff in your home. It is about having breakfast, about going to bed at a fixed time, dressing and preparing them for school.
Of course are your children sad because of the divorce, but they don't want to be bothered with all the practicalities and inconveniences of their divorces parents. They simply want their daily activities to continue undisturbed. A clear daily schedule brings structure to their life.
Stick to it as much as possible for a good parenting education. If not, the children will become confused and they will feel less capable to make their own daily choices. Without enough structure, your children may start to feel fed up. Good day to day care makes the children to expect great things from life. It provides them with the predictability and stability from where they can start to play, to experiment and to learn.
Your children will cross borders. They have to learn what is acceptable, what is appropriate and what is inappropriate. This understanding become the values of the family.All kind of small and not so small daily events, the reactions of you and of your children to those events, behaviour and attitudes and discussions and conversations slowly shape the culture of your family. This is important for parenting education.
Next to structure, there needs to be room for flexibility. Surprises will bring joy and stimulate creativity. You start by giving the example. After a while, your children will come back and surprise you.
Activities are very important for your children. It keeps them away from the passivity of watching tv. It stimulates their curiosity and creativity. They face new situations and challenges. They will experience fun and excitement, difficulties and deception. They will meet new people. It is elementary in parenting education.
So, do as many activities with them as possible. You will be limited by time and by money. If your ex finds it important and forces you to do more than what is within your possibilties, you have to discuss the situation together. If he or she finds something really important for your children, but he/she does not make the time available to do it himself/herself, apparently it cannot be that important.
When discussing the activities for parenting education, focus on your strength and those of your ex. Not on the weaknesses. Be creative in dividing the tasks and the activities. Perhaps you prefer scouting and your ex enjoys going with the children to music lessons, make the obvious choice.
When you were happily married, your partner might have agreed with you that you stay at home to take care of the children. After the divorce, your partner might change ideas. The answer on the question depends very much on your possibilities. Do you have the means to do it? Does your ex want to contribute? If you need to work to support you and your family, your options are few. These days, it is possible to work from home. More and more people do. If your profession or the company you work for do not allow working from home, you could consider a change. Maybe you do have other options too.
When a child is happy and feels secure, he does not have to worry about these very elementary parenting education subjects. His mind will be free from worries and as a consequence, he can focus on his school activities much better.
Setting realistic explicit goals for the near and the distant future motivates. The child has something to work for then. A distant goal can be becoming a dentist. A nearer goal for parenting education can be participating in a special summer camp for which specific qualifications are required.
Another goal can be to stay in the same class as his or her friends during the whole school period.
By assisting your children in making these goals explicit, your children will be motivated intrinsically to do the best they can. When they fail they will face the natural consequences (for example that they have to redo a school year).
Of course you can give them a little attention when they pass the the next level, but that should come as a surprise to them. They should not be motivated by your present.
Children that read a lot perform better at school. But do not start to motivate them to read at a very young age.
Creating the right environment for your children is essential in parenting education. The physical environment needs to be safe, quiet and clean. The mental environment is even more important for them. We distinguish the performance environment and the learning environment. Read more in Focusing on the Children.
Show me your friends and I know who you are.
Friends determine for an important part what your children do, what they do'nt, where they hang out. They are very much influenced by their opinions.
Suppose that the friends of you children do not show at school often and that they are proud on not doing any homework at all. Chances are big that your children will join their behaviour and their way of thinking with disastrous consequences.
In case your child is very intelligent, he or she will be frustrated staying at a normal school. The pace is probably much too slow for them. They get bored and they might start behaving poorly. In these cases, you should consider sending him or her to a special school where he or she can interact with like minded children. The higher pace and more difficult education level will challenge them much more.
Helping your child with his or her homework is the most direct parenting education you can do. By doing this you show interest in what you child is doing. You stay very well informed about what your child learns at school and about what problems he or she encounters. It is also good for bonding.
Be careful that you do not overdo it. It is still the responsibility of your children.
Attend at least all the parent-teacher conferences or interviews. Usually twice a year in the USA. You could go a step further by asking the teacher to get intermediate updates on the progress of your child in writing or in extra interviews. From the discussions with the teacher, you can learn what you need to adjust in your parenting education.
Although the tips in this article about parenting education have nothing to do with the activities and the work your child does inside the school. They shape the circumstances in which your child can thrive at school.
Return to the Child Friendly Divorce Self Assessment page.