1 Thing You Can Do Now to Give Your Child an Advantage in School

by stacie on March 27, 2021

Our oldest, Sydnie, is a whiz in math and science. In fact, they are her favorite subjects in school … even though she’d never admit it because it’s totally uncool to like such subjects when you’re a 12-year-old girl.

But she is great at them. At first, I couldn’t understand how this happened. These two subjects were my least favorite in school. I always did poorly in them because I just wasn’t interested. Naturally, I was drawn to English and language … shocking, I know.

But, after reading this summary of a study at Parents News Now, written by Holly Lebowitz Rossi, I’m left wondering if I did something right without even knowing it. This 15-year study directly correlates how parents play with their children and the effect of that play on kids once they hit 5th grade.

If you don’t want to read through the study, let me give you the one thing you can do to really help your child succeed in school. Speak with passion … vigor … and exaggerate whenever possible. Basically, talk to your child without the baby talk. Enunciate difficult words. Read with inflection.

So, what does that look like?

Ask your child questions about the story you’re reading. Repeat, repeat, repeat. If your child asks a question, make sure you repeat her question in your answer. For example, our youngest, Ella, often says, “Mumma, what you got?” Now, this obviously isn’t proper English. But my response is always the same. “Did you ask me what I have? I have a _________ (fill in the blank). Do you have any ________?”

This starts a dialogue and often goes on and on with me asking her if her bears like whatever I have, if she thinks our black and white dog would like what I have … you get the picture.

My husband jokes that the reason Ella likes me to do bedtime is because I spend so much time reading books and asking her questions about the stories. He looks at it like she knows she gets to stay up longer. I look at it like she’s being engaged during a quiet moment with no interruptions.

I was the same way with our oldest. I never talked to her as though she were a baby … in fact, I often spoke with her as though she were an adult. Not necessarily the same conversations I would have with a girlfriend over dinner, but there was never any question about my intent. Many friends criticized me at the time, thinking I was making her a grown-up too soon, just because she was well-spoken.

Now, ten years later, I’m happy to know that it’s all paying off.

photo credit: Cornell University

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Henny Ort March 27, 2021 at 1:08 am

So easy to get my child into Harvard :)
Seriously, listening and talking, conversing with children as if they really are on your level, well, it takes patience, if i am very honest.

Mommy With Selective Memory March 27, 2021 at 4:05 am

Very good reminder. I’m often so tired by the end of the day that I just rush through reading the book so I can get her to bed. I need to be more patient (or read earlier when I’m not so tired! :-) )

busy kids=happy mom March 27, 2021 at 4:59 am

Anytime you can engage your child one-on-one you are giving them an incredible gift! Building your child’s vocabulary starts very early. One way we share more books with our kids is by listening to books on CD during quiet time and when we’re in the car. The vocabulary they’ve acquired through listening is amazing!

Sonia's Goodie Bags March 27, 2021 at 6:44 am

Yes, treat and talk to them with respect, but have fun at the same time!

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