4 ways to teach your child to enjoy school



School time doesn't have to be a drag


School day dread can be a tough issue to face with your child. You want them to look forward to the place where they spend the most time. But not every child embraces education with glee.

Here are some tips for helping them learn to better appreciate school:

1. Set an upbeat tone for the day before they leave the house. If getting out the door to school is a chore because your child is tired, try moving bedtime back a half hour. As adults we know how hard it can be to drag ourselves out of bed early. The same is true for kids.

2. Accentuate the positive. After school review with your child what they liked about their day. It's okay if they say "lunch" or "recess." Use your investigative skills to learn what makes that appealing to them. Then pinpoint other occasions during the school day where they can enjoy those aspects. If it's time with friends, help them recognize interactions they have within the classroom.

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3. Respect their learning style. Parent/teacher conference time can be a great opportunity for discussing your child's learning style with his teacher. Ask what aspects of the school day play to this style. Then help your child recognize his learning style, while appreciating the learning modes of others and how school is structured toward all approaches. School can be a downer for kids who don't see success in a traditional sense with high scores on tests and homework. But as Carol Dweck points out in her book Mindset, it's better to focus on the process and growth instead of outcomes.

4. With growth in mind, help your child set school-oriented goals. Ask "what do you hope you can do at the end of the school year that you can't do now?" If one part of their day is more discouraging than another, consider focusing the growth goal in that area. Then revisit those goals periodically. Focus on growing your child into a lifelong learner. In the process, they might see school in a different light.

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As the mother of three, parenting journalist and author Lara Krupicka has used all of these methods at one time or another to encourage her children's enjoyment of school.