I have now been helping out in a Grade 2/3 classroom seven times this semester and the amount of things I have learned already is astounding! But I’m looking at it from a different perspective than my 18-20 year old peers because my step mom goggles on are on and I find myself observing how parental behaviours influence children’s behaviours. Therefore this post is coming more from a parent’s perspective than a teacher’s perspective.
1. There is a HUGE difference in comprehension and understanding between the kids who read daily and the kids who don’t
Every day the kids turn in their agendas and I check who did their reading. Parents or kids just need to write in how many minutes they’ve done each night. The children who do their reading every night are the best in class, they catch on to new concepts and they remember material learned. At this age daily reading is vital!
2. The kids whose parents ensure they do their homework are always ahead of the class and wind up learning more
The kids don’t have much homework. Every week they get a spelling sheet where they have to trace 4-6 words and write a sentence using that word and they have all week to complete it. We have a few students who get it done Monday night and more than a few students who have to stay in at recess on Friday afternoon to finish. The kids who do their homework earlier tend to have better attention, work more independently, and finish assignments in class faster. When they finish assignments faster, the teacher gives them more work and they wind up learning more than their peers.
3. Children who play video games all the time are more hyper and have a much shorter attention span
I have a handful of hyper active, disruptive boys who LOVE video games! When they can, they tell me all about how they stayed up late playing on their personal laptop or console and TV in their rooms. They list all the games they have (most are violent and have an 18+ rating). Because these boys are used to the constant stimulation of games they CANNOT sit still for more than a few minutes and cannot stay focused.
4. Too many parents are packing candy and sweets into kids lunches which make them even more hyper
One of our most hyper boys whipped out his lunch the other day and started devouring skittles and chocolate balls. He had been bouncing off the walls all morning so I asked him to also eat something healthy to counteract the sugar so he busted out his Dorito’s. Almost every kid has candy in their lunch when I’m there. I totally get that you want to give your kid a treat and our mom used to buy us fruit snacks, chocolate covered granola bars, and sometimes pudding. But candy is straight up sugar and makes the kids even more hyper and harder to deal with.
5. Kids are forever trying to correct others behaviour
This is an age old problem. I remember when I was in elementary that I would get mad at someone for “tattling” on me, but I think it’s an issue that parent’s can help address. We have some kids who will sit and observe others working and when someone they are watching stops working, they start yelling at them to get back to work! My teaching associate is ALWAYS telling the student’s to mind their own business and focus on themselves and their work but I swear it’s falling on deaf ears.
Takeaways as a Parent
Now I am only a step mom meaning I don’t have the kids during the week and I don’t have to enforce reading and homework but I hope these observations will help guide parents to help their elementary age children have more success in school. I know that being a parent is hard and I can’t even wrap my head around how single working parents handle it all, but we are talking about your child’s ability to learn which is so important. You have to make their learning a priority. Make sure they read daily, make sure they do their homework, take devices out of their rooms, limit video games, don’t pack candy in lunches on a regular basis, and teach them to stop tattling and to focus on their own behaviour.
All this being said, I am LOVING being in a classroom and I have so much respect for elementary school teachers because the amount of work they put in is astounding. Maybe send your kid to school with an apple for teacher because he or she is working their butt off!