Ten Important Considerations for Parents

With an almost fifty year teaching career behind me, I offer reflections about what works and what does not work when rearing and educating children. As we commence a new school year, these might be of note to parents.

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  1. Allow children to play in the neighborhood and during recess at school without directing their every move. Young children should not have organized sports either at school or outside of school.
  1. Let children be children. Intervene only if there is bullying or an accident like a scraped knee.
  2. Don’t bother purchasing cell phones, IPads and computers for young children. They will have them soon enough.
  3. Restrict television time. Use family meal time to have conversations with one another. As an alternative, try board games as a family activity.
  1. Take your children to the library and discuss the books they read. Continue to read aloud to them daily at least through elementary school. I recall having a homework assignment given us as  parents of our middle school  children.  We were to all take turns reading one chapter aloud of a book.  We could do this during dinner or afterwards.  We discussed the book and explained words our children did not know.

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  1. Begin to learn a foreign language in elementary school even if the school does not offer one. I know several parents who spoke a foreign language at home so that children heard it. These parents were non-native speakers but placed great value on learning another language, culture and country.  Pass on the basics of the foreign language you learned in school.  Hang a world map on your child’s  bedroom wall.
  1. Have your children learn a musical instrument including singing aloud if lessons or instruments are too expensive for the family budget.
  1. Begin to teach children cursive handwriting. There are charts and online resources to do this. Daily practice is essential as it is with musical instruments and foreign languages. Writing  a daily journal helps form good habits at an early age.
  2. Set aside time to include religion in the lives of your children. Make this a family activity.  If religion is not “your thing” then try philosophy or meditation.
  3. Refrain from doing your children’s work. Let them struggle with homework and other tasks. They need to learn to ask questions and solve problems on their own. I had ninth grade students who did not know how to look up words in the dictionary.  It is a necessary skill and lays the foundation for doing research later in school.  Parents need to teach their children to accept responsibility for their own work in school.
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8 Responses to Ten Important Considerations for Parents

  1. Annika Perry says:

    Mary Ann, wonderful words of wisdom! I whole-heartedly agree with them all. So many parents, with the best intentions, micro-manage their children’s lives down the every second it seems! Their play activities should be theirs to enjoy, to argue with friends and even to be bored. A great lesson in the latter as this often leads to creativity. I happily could tick most of these. The cell phone discussion was brief in this household – told my son that it didn’t matter if his friends had them at primary school or not, he wasn’t going to get one until secondary school. Worked out fine and even today he barely has time for social media as he actually loves meeting his friends in real life! Loved the photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Annika, I appreciate your thoughtful comment. I had a senior who was “frozen” and could not ask me anything, let alone a question about homework. His mother made frequent, demanding phone calls to me asking the questions her son should have asked. I had to teach her to teach him to assume responsibility. Each time I admonished her about how soon he was going to be on his own in college and that she certainly would not be phoning the college with such questions, would she? Well, he attends college locally, and my guess is that she is still micromanaging his life. It is gratifying to me to know there are parents such as you and your husband regarding cell phones. Meeting friends is so rewarding, and you should be proud he chooses this over social media. I agree with all your remarks as well. Thanks. Did you get caught in our hurricane in FL?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Annika Perry says:

        I do feel sorry for teachers who have to face parents like this – always having to be patient. You did well trying to help them. We just caught the tail-end of the hurricane on the North East coast – not too exciting there but the news networks were going crazy! I’m beginning my series of posts about the trip tomorrow. Still recovering from jet lag!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, I look forward to reading about your trip. Our daughter in Southampton, NY had gray skies, some rain and winds which brought down branches. The beaches were closed due to rip tides and some flooding from storm surges. While our son got his power back on within one day, there are others who still do not have it as trees are removed and hauled away. Jet lag takes time and rest. I suffered that for about one week last trip to the NW which is three hours earlier. My body wasn’t quite certain what time of day it was for a long time.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Bun Karyudo says:

    That sounds like a lot of very sensible advice to me. I particularly agree that it’s better for the children to struggle through their homework first before the parent takes a look at it. I’ve discovered if I jump in too early, my kids are quite happy to sit back and let me do it all for them!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Our own two took responsibility for all their work. I don’t recall being asked to look at anything. It was probably good that I was too busy teaching to ever look their work over before it was handed in. From time to time, we viewed their lovely poster boards they prepared for projects. When our kids went to a private, independent school called Manlius Pebble Hill School nearby, the teachers expected the students to phone them with any homework questions. As a public school teacher, I am glad I did not have to provide a phone number outside school for such calls. You are correct in noticing that by jumping in too early, your kids will allow you to take over. I think it is best to allow them to “fall down” and “suffer the consequences” of not doing homework or doing it in a slipshod manner. The struggle is important. And it is ok to fail sometimes. What a learning moment that is! Thank you for the kind comment about my sensible advice to others. My attitude is that teachers are there to teach and students are there to learn. Parents are there to parent and should basically not step in right away. A sudden change in grades going down might be a good time for parents to intervene. I wish parents today would not micromanage their children. The parents have already gone to school and should now allow their children to learn on their own. ^__^

      Liked by 1 person

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