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Tips for Parents

While many factors contribute to a child’s success in school, we know that parental involvement is one of the most significant. Because of the critical role both parents and teachers play in a child’s education, we have asked a few of Utah’s most experienced school teachers to share tips on how parents can support the efforts of teachers in the classroom to help their children succeed.

By working together, parents and teachers can help children learn and make each child’s educational experience the very best it can be, because student success is at the heart of everything we do!

Ready to Learn

First Day
The start of a new school year can be the beginning of a journey toward success when parents, students, and teachers work together. Here are some suggestions for parents who want to help their children learn. Start talking now about the upcoming school year and the first day of classes. Discuss what to expect on the first day – new clothes, new school supplies, seeing old friends and making new ones, new teachers, and all of the new things they’ll learn. Take note of how you feel about your child going off to school. If you’re anxious, your child might sense your feelings. If you’re new to the area, make a visit to the school before classes begin. Talk to the teachers and administration. Walk or drive the bus route to familiarize your child with the trip to and from school. The more you both know about your school and how it operates, the more likely it is that your child will have a productive and positive school experience.
Giving Feedback
The start of a new school year can be the beginning of a journey toward success when parents, students, and teachers work together. Here are some suggestions for parents who want to help their children learn. To learn, children must believe that they can learn. As the parent, you are the most important adult in your child’s life. The feedback you give them — what you say and do about their abilities — will have a lasting impact on your child’s self-confidence. Be encore-aging and praise your child for the amount of effort put into a project. See setbacks as opportunities to grow. Emphasize that doing their best is what counts. Be prepared for your next parent-teacher conference. Find out if your child has anything that he or she would like you to discuss. Write down your own list of questions. Ask how your child interacts with other students, or participates in classroom activities. Most importantly, talk to the teachers about ways you can work together to help your child.
Well Rested
By Beverlee A. Simpson, M.Ed., National Board Certified Teacher, language arts teacher at East High School, Salt Lake City Research shows that students who are well-rested perform better in school. Elementary aged children need at least nine hours of sleep each night. Many parents may be surprised to learn that pediatricians suggest that teens get between eight and nine hours of sleep per night as well. If your child has problems sleeping, here are some ideas that might help:

  • Establish a routine. Students should go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
  • Have your child avoid drinks with caffeine.
  • Give your child the responsibility of going to sleep and waking up by him or herself–this builds self-reliance and confidence.
  • Make your child’s bed a “sleep-only” zone. No watching TV, using the computer, or even reading in bed.
  • If your child can’t fall asleep within 10-15 minutes, allow him to get up and read or write in a journal until he or she feels sleepy, once again, no TV or computer time.
  • If your teen consistently stays awake until the wee hours, continue to have him or her get up at a regular time; the pattern of falling asleep earlier will eventually be established.
  • Consult a pediatrician if your child has trouble sleeping for a prolonged period of time.
Meeting Teachers
Teachers The start of a new school year can be the beginning of a journey toward success when parents, students, and teachers work together. Here are some suggestions for parents who want to help their children learn. Make time to meet and get to know your child’s teachers. Let the teachers know that you appreciate feedback on your child’s progress – both positive and negative – and that you will follow through at home. Alert teachers to medical or other problems that may affect your child’s ability to learn. Make a point of meeting the principal, school secretary, bus driver, cafeteria staff, and others who work at the school. The better you know the school and how it operates, the more likely your child will be to have a productive and positive school experience.
Study Time
The start of a new school year can be the beginning of a journey toward success when parents, students and teachers work together. Here are some suggestions for parents who want to help their children learn. Set aside time for studying every night. Discuss with your child what time of day would work best. Right after school? Just before dinner? Before bedtime? Adjust the schedule as needed to accommodate extra-curricular activities. If your child attends an after-school program, find out if students will be expected to do homework there. If your child completes homework assignments away from home, plan to review the work together every night. If there is no homework assignment, have the child use study time for reading or reviewing problem areas. And don’t forget – whether it’s a bedroom desk or the kitchen table, every child needs a regular place to study and complete homework. This area should be well-lit and equipped with school supplies like paper, pencils, and a dictionary.
Attendance, Tardies and Communication
By Kathy Christiansen, sixth-grade reading, writing and social studies teacher at Cedar Ridge Middle School, Hyde Park, Utah “Students whose parents are involved in their lives have higher graduation rates and greater enrollment rates in postsecondary education.”* Those students can also experience more success during their public school years. Parents can encourage success in school when they encourage and expect their child to be at school, arrive on time, and get acquainted with their teachers. Unless students are ill, they should be in school. So much learning takes place in the classroom with the teacher that when students miss a class, they miss valuable instruction time. This instruction cannot be made up outside of school and the student’s chain of knowledge ends up with a missing link. This can cause students to become discouraged or confused. School then becomes a chore. Excessive tardiness also contributes to failure in the classroom. Being consistently late can quickly ruin the reputation of a student. Not only does it make the student appear irresponsible, but coming late, is discourteous. Being tardy interrupts teaching time and distracts both the teacher and students in the classroom. Encourage your child to be in his/her seat ready to learn when the bell rings. Advise your child to occasionally visit with the teachers. Teachers tend to take more interest in those students they know. Remind students to make their visits short as they share their ideas or thoughts. With just a few tips on proper conduct at school, your child can become a positive force in the classroom. * A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family, and Community Connections on Student Achievements 2002.

Reading and Writing

By Denise Ulrich, reading teacher at Crestview Elementary School, Salt Lake City, and literacy coach at Syracuse Elementary School, Syracuse, Utah Did you know that when your student sees a picture of a cow and says “moo” they are already taking an early step towards becoming a successful reader? Just like a cow says “moo” the letter b says “b”. The ability to recognize that symbols have specific sounds attached to them will help your student understand the concept of phonics. Who knew a trip to the farm would start your reader off on the right foot?!! Did you know that many things can be done to set your reader up for success before they even know the alphabet song? Often students get hung up in reading because they do not understand that words are made up of many smaller sounds. For example, the word “cat” has three distinct sounds: c-a-t. Practicing breaking apart words into their individual letter sounds can be done long before your student knows the names and symbols for each letter. A strong ability to hear sound segments in words is a fundamentally important step in the reading process and can be practiced long before kindergarten. Did you know that tracking words with your finger while you read aloud to your children helps set the stage for your young readers? Knowing which way to read the words and where to go next when you finish a line seems a simple task to adult readers, but for these youngsters it’s best to keep in mind that nothing is too obvious.
Be a Reading Example
By Kathy Christiansen, sixth-grade reading, writing and social studies teacher at Cedar Ridge Middle School, Hyde Park, Utah Parents can be both a model and teacher when it comes to writing. Parents should let children see them writing notes to friends, letters to businesses, and perhaps even stories to share. Making changes in what is written lets children see that revision is important in the writing process. When children are writing, parents should talk through their ideas with them; help them discover what they want to say. When they ask for help with spelling, punctuation, grammar, or word usage, supply the help. Always praise children for writing. It is especially important that parents remember to be helpers, not critics. Rejoice in effort, delight in ideas, and always display your child’s writing. With the right encouragement, children can develop the love and skill of writing.
Raising Readers
By Kathy Christiansen, sixth-grade reading, writing and social studies teacher at Cedar Ridge Middle School, Hyde Park, Utah By encouraging children to read, parents can assure school success. It is never too early to start reading to a child. Even newborns react to hearing their parents read. So, begin sharing bedtime stories with newborns. Then, continue reading together even when the child learns to read. As you read, always make your voice animated by using different voices for the different characters and emotions in the story. Ask questions about the reading and listen intently to your child’s answers. Oftentimes, children’s thoughts and ideas are ‘magical.’ Make each reading time special. Turn off the television, move away from the computer, and put the music player and headphones in the drawer. Then, cuddle together in a comfortable spot so your child will associate reading with feeling secure and loved. Whenever you go places, take along your children’s favorite books. Read in the car, on the bus, or in waiting rooms. Get a library card and visit the library often. Let children peruse the aisles of books and select a variety of books to check out and take home. Children love having new stories read to them. Finally, be a role model by letting your child see you read. When they see you enjoy reading, they will learn it is a fountain of knowledge and fun. With just a few minutes a day focused on reading, parents can raise readers.
Building a Solid Reading Foundation
Would you like to build a solid reading foundation for your young child? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Label things in the home such as the table, the refrigerator, doors, etc. Collect the labels and have your child put them back on the correct objects.
  • While in the car, walking, or riding the bus, have your child look for and read familiar signs.
  • Talk to children about what they like to do — their favorite games, pastimes, and books. Listen to your child’s stories, accounts of events and ideas. Allow them to dictate the stories to you, and make a written collection to enjoy.
  • Make plans for the day with your child. As children get older, plans can be written in a short schedule. The schedule can be used to search for familiar words and to learn new words.
  • Encourage your child to ask questions. Show how some questions can be answered by looking for information in books.
Encourage Writing at Home
By Kathy Christiansen, sixth-grade reading, writing and social studies teacher at Cedar Ridge Middle School, Hyde Park, Utah Parents can take a hand and open a mind when they provide opportunities for children to practice purposeful writing at home. Writing for real purposes is rewarding to children, and family activities present many opportunities for this. Children can help write a grocery list for mom, or add some notes at the end of a parent’s letter. They can design, draw and write the message for holiday and birthday cards or invitations for family parties. Some other occasions when children can be involved in writing at home are in taking down telephone messages or writing thank-you notes for gifts they have received. Parents not only teach writing, but also courtesy when they encourage children to write notes of gratitude to family members, teachers, and friends for thoughtful acts of kindness towards them. Involving older children may take some effort, but it will be worth it. Writing helps children better understand what they think. When children know what they think, they can express themselves better and voice their opinions more intelligently. Parents should never underestimate their power when helping children get on the “Write Track” to “Write Their Own Future.”
Connect Reading and Writing
Want to help your child connect reading and writing? Here are some suggestions:

  • Encourage your child to draw pictures about books or experiences. Drawing is a preparation for writing because it develops both the muscles needed for writing and children’s ability to represent their ideas.
  • Show your child how to write his or her name.
  • Help your child compose a note to a relative or friend. Have your child dictate as you write. Read the note back to the child, pointing to the words as you read them. Some children might be able to find familiar words in the note.

Math and Science

A Different Kind of Math
Have you noticed? Math looks different these days. When you visit your child’s mathematics classroom, it may look different from what you remember. 2 apples + 2 apples still equals 4 apples, and 7 x 8 is still 56, but now you’re likely to see students counting real apples instead of just seeing them in a book. The math hasn’t changed, but how we look at it has. We want ALL students to realize that math is more than adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. We want children to be able to connect math to their everyday lives. We know that every child is capable of achieving in math topics such as geometry, data and statistics, algebra, and measurement — topics we’ve traditionally thought of as only accessible to some. Teachers are now designing mathematical tasks that ask students to think deeply about math and how that math is part of their real lives. The problems students encounter won’t be the two problems at the end of the lesson page that we all remember, but they’ll be “real” problems that use math in a “real” way. It may be a problem that takes the child an hour, or perhaps several, to solve. There may be multiple ways to solve the problem.
Studying Math and Working in Groups
When studying mathematics, does your child work in pairs and groups? Research shows that students working together enhances learning. Working together provides time for students to talk about the math they understand and the math they don’t understand. This also provides more opportunities for more students to talk and allows the teachers to hear more students’ thoughts and ideas. In addition to group work, many different materials seem to be used in math class. Materials like pattern blocks and algebra tiles help students make sense of math. Psychologists believe that all students need to understand concepts at a concrete level before they move onto abstract ideas. Some materials inherently have math concepts connected to them and help students bridge their understanding of math concepts (sixth-graders may fill a box with 1-inch cubes as they learn about volume, and fourth graders may make fraction kits to help them understand fractional parts).
Helping Your Student with Math
By Debra Rossi, M.Ed., sixth-grade teacher at David Gourley Elementary School, Salt Lake City Math is a good way for a mind to develop. It is one of the best ways to start to see connections in an everyday environment. Because of this, math skills are critical to a child’s development. Many parents are intimidated by math. Rest assured, your child’s teacher is working hard to make sure your student is learning the skills to do homework accurately. Spend time with your student reviewing math assignments. Studies show students retain more when they are teaching skills to someone else, so even if you don’t know how to do the math, your student is learning as he or she struggles to explain it to you! Your students learn more than just basic math facts. They learn how to balance a checkbook, shop efficiently, manage finances and how to make wise decisions with money. And it is all called math. When you work with your child regularly, you might even learn some more math yourself.
Math Homework
Today’s math homework is different, and the amount may be different too. Today’s teachers know that practice is still important, and students will continue to do that. However, we also know from research that students need activities and tasks that ask them to delve deeper into the concepts and content of mathematics. Because of this, there may be fewer problems assigned, but these problems will require students to think more deeply about math and make connections to math in their own lives. You may also see fewer graded papers coming home. Teachers continue to use traditional paper and pencil tests as well as district and statewide tests to help them make decisions about instruction and assessment. However, teachers are also using tried and true methods of “kidwatching.” Watching students while they work in pairs and alone provides teachers with valuable information about your child’s progress. Students are asked to communicate their understanding in a variety of ways. They may be asked to keep a math journal and write about the math they are learning. For example, after learning a concept your child may be asked to write and describe how he would teach that concept to a younger child. Teachers can learn a great deal about a student’s understanding this way.
Becoming "Scientifically Literate"
Science is all around us. Nearly everything we do has a scientific or technological implication. We are a nation of citizens that depend greatly on science and technology. Parents and educators can do many things to build a love and respect for science in our children. What does it mean to be scientifically literate? Scientifically literate children have and continue to develop the critical thinking skills necessary for academic success. Scientifically literate citizens understand the importance of science in their daily lives, can evaluate public policy decisions, and make informed decisions about science reports in the media. In the past, science was only defined as reading the text and answering questions about the science content or watching the instructor demonstrate a science experiment. Teachers still use these strategies, but now we also see children with their “hands-on” the materials, learning about science first-hand and conducting experiments themselves. Under the guidance of teachers, students experience the excitement of observing scientific phenomena directly.
Foster Your Child's Natural Curiosity
Ever wonder how you might help your child become more interested in science? Foster your child’s natural curiosity. Take a 10-minute walk around the backyard, your neighborhood or a local park. Start a collection of natural items such as leaves. Take the leaves home and identify the trees they came from. You and your child can make rubbings of the leaves by placing white or notebook paper over the leaves and using a crayon to rub over the paper. You should see an imprint of the leaf on the paper. Write one or two sentences that describe what you and your child observed. Take your child to a museum or a nature center. Many cities and towns have museums or technology and nature centers designed specifically for children. If there isn’t a center or museum in your town, take a virtual field trip on your computer or a computer in the library. Consider a camp that focuses on science or technology. If your child is interested in space, the U.S. Space and Rocket Center holds week-long space camps for children ages 9-18, and the United State’s first woman astronaut, Sally Ride, sponsors a special parent/daughter weekend program, specifically designed for girls between 7 and 11 years of age.


Achievement Tests
Quizzes and exams that teachers routinely use to check on students’ learning are the most common — and frequent — tests your child takes in school. In addition to regular classroom tests, your child will take one or more achievement tests that public schools are required to give each year. These tests, which provide a snapshot of what children know, are used to gauge how well schools educate students. When your child takes a state-required achievement test, your child’s performance is compared with the performance of other students in the school district – and the entire state. Remember that as a parent, you should receive information regularly about your child’s performance on tests — the tests teachers use routinely in the classroom as well as state-required achievement tests. Remember, it is the combined information from many sources, not any one test, that will give you the best picture of your child’s academic success.
Asking Questions
As a parent, you should receive information regularly about your child’s performance on tests — the evaluations teachers use routinely in the classroom as well as state-required achievement tests. Don’t hesitate to ask questions like these about the tests your child takes at school:

  1. How does the material my child learns in class relate to what is covered on tests?
  2. In what other ways do the school — and the teachers — measure how well my child is learning?
  3. How much time does my child spend taking tests during the school year?
  4. Does my child’s performance on state-required achievement tests match his performance in the classroom? (If an achievement test is not well matched to what your child is being taught at school, he could score poorly on the achievement test while still earning good grades.)
  5. How do the teachers — and the school — use test results?
"High-Stakes" Tests
Some of the tests your child takes in school might be “high-stakes” tests. These are tests that school districts and schools use to make important decisions that affect your child’s future – such as going on to the next grade level or graduating from high school. High-stakes tests aren’t the only tests schools administer. School districts and schools also use test results to identify children who will receive special services or participate in special programs. Special education services and programs for gifted and talented students are two examples. You should not be overly concerned if test results are used as one factor in making high-stakes decisions, but you should be very concerned if they are the only factor considered. Your child’s report cards, his or her performance on routine classroom tests throughout the school year, and information your child’s teacher can provide about his or her performance, also should be taken into account. Ask about the multiple measures of success being used in your school.
Helping Your Child
Want to know how you can help your children do their best on tests at school? First, make sure they attend school every day so they have an opportunity to learn what is needed to do well in school — and to do well on tests. Here are some other tips:

  • Take an interest in your child’s school work and in the results of the tests.
  • Encourage your children to do their best on tests.
  • Provide a quiet place at home for your child to do homework assignments that reinforce what is learned at school.
  • Work with your children at home, as well as with the school and teacher, to ensure they will become good readers. Good reading skills are important to success in school and help students do well on tests.
  • Ask your child’s teacher about the tests your child takes — classroom quizzes and tests, as well as required achievement tests. Ask about the subjects, knowledge, and skills that are tested — and how the test results will be used to help your child be successful.
  • Don’t judge your child’s abilities — or let others judge your child’s abilities — on the basis of a single test score. Any test provides only limited information about what your child knows and is able to do.
A More Complete Picture
Contrary to what you may have heard, tests are far from perfect measures of what your child has learned at school. At best, they only measure a portion of what students have learned. A more complete picture also includes:

  • The teacher’s review of your child’s daily work in class;
  • Class projects, discussions, and group work.
  • The teacher’s observations of your child as he or she completes classroom assignments; and
  • Conversations with you and your child about how well he or she understands concepts, and how the teacher can work with your child, and with you, to increase your child’s school success.

Parent Teacher Partnership

Be Involved as School Begins
By Dessie R. Olson, M.Ed., National Board Certified Teacher, social studies teacher at East High School, Salt Lake City Research shows one of the best ways to help your child succeed in school is to be involved in their education. Being involved may take many different forms, but the efforts should always lead you to becoming more aware of your child’s school experience. How can you become more aware as the school year begins? Here are some suggestions:

  • Read the school and classroom policies and procedures, and don’t forget about the school newsletter and Web site – they’re full of reminders and information that could be helpful to you and your student. Being familiar with how things work is a great way to get off on the right foot.
  • Help your child calm nerves by visiting the school your child will be attending before school starts. In addition to finding their class rooms, keep an eye out for where their locker and other important areas are such as the lunch room, office, gyms and restrooms.
  • Review the core curriculum to get an idea of what concepts, knowledge, and skills your student will be learning. You can access the Utah State Core Curriculum at www.schools.utah.gov.

Do what you can to keep communication between you, your child, and the school open. The more you communicate, the more you’ll be aware and the more support your child will feel and receive.

Showing Your Child You Value Education
As a parent, or an adult who plays an important role in the life of a child, your involvement in your child’s education at school and at home shows your child that you value education. You can provide teachers with the most reliable source of information about your child. The partnership between you and your child’s teacher is powerful. Here are some ways you can be involved in your child’s education each year at school:

  • Meet the teacher.
  • Make a date with the teacher to visit your child’s classroom.
  • Go to parent-teacher conferences.
  • Join the PTA or other school/community groups.
  • Stay up-to-date on school policies, schedules, and rules.
  • Make sure your child is learning.
  • Find a teacher or counselor you feel comfortable talking to about concerns you might have about your child.

* Keep in regular contact with your school. Volunteer if time permits. Remember, we are all working together to help your child be successful.

By Kathy Christiansen, sixth-grade reading, writing and social studies teacher at Cedar Ridge Middle School, Hyde Park, Utah A must for school success is completing homework assignments and turning them in on time. It is a good idea to sit down with your child and make a homework plan together. First, decide where your child will do homework. A quiet place with a flat surface, plenty of elbow room, a comfortable chair, and good light will work. Make sure there are necessary supplies like paper, pens, pencils, a dictionary, thesaurus, and erasers. For older children, and some younger, access to a computer is a must. Next, decide when homework will be done and what assignments your child should do first. Will your child be expected to start homework right after school, before dinner, or after dinner? In organizing homework, the sandwich method seems to work best for most children—have your child start with something easy, do something hard, and finish with something else easy. Some other questions you will need to discuss are: Will television or music be allowed during homework time? Can your child take breaks during homework time? Who will check up on your child to make sure everything is complete? What rewards or consequences will be administered concerning homework? Who will call the teacher if there is a question or problem concerning an assignment? Getting children to complete homework is not always easy, but being consistent with your plan is essential in helping children become successful students. As parents support and guide children, children will learn to value education and find that school becomes less stressful and more fun.
Contacting a Teacher
By Debra Rossi, M.Ed., sixth-grade teacher at David Gourley Elementary School, Salt Lake City The best ways to contact a teacher are first, e-mail, then a personal note. Teachers are in class with students most of the day and an e-mail gives the teacher a moment to pull up the information needed to respond to your concerns while considering an answer. A main benefit of e-mail is that it also remains private. Only for emergencies should a parent interrupt a class with a phone call or a visit. Although most schools welcome parents, if you have private concerns, please address them in a private manner. It preserves learning time for the entire class. It shows respect for your child’s privacy as well as showing professional courtesy to the teacher. If you are unable to resolve your concerns using these methods, send an e-mail or note with a choice of reasonable times for the teacher to contact you. Be sure to include the phone number you want the teacher to call. The teacher will call you to set up an appointment or discuss your concerns over the phone. By handling delicate matters in a private way you help preserve your student’s confidential information.
Good, Better, Best
Good, Better, Best. Never let it Rest. Until your Good is Better, and your Better is Best! Here are some tips for helping you teach your child to strive for their best. Some students are more concerned with being DONE than with doing things well. You can help your teenager avoid that pitfall by suggesting a few tips they might follow:

  • Start right away. Waiting until the last minute to start assures that it will not be your best work.
  • Organize your materials. Don’t start working without everything you’ll need.
  • Break large projects into smaller tasks and work on one piece at a time. Don’t let it become overwhelming.
  • Set a timetable and a deadline for completion of the work. Be sure it isn’t the night before it’s due.
  • Give suggestions, but not criticism as your child works. No one wants to be told over and over again, “it’s good, but….”

All students want to get good grades. Whether they are good, better, or best, might depend on your support of their efforts.

How to Make Parent-Teacher Conferences Work for Your Child
You’ve been asked to attend a regularly scheduled “report card” conference with your child’s teacher. Or you’ve gotten a special note from your child’s teacher asking to see you. In either case, you might be a little nervous. Well, relax. Teachers don’t want to put parents on the spot. They just like to meet with parents from time to time to discuss how to help students do their best in school. All children learn in different ways. They have their own individual personalities, and their own listening and work habits. To help their students learn new knowledge and skills, teachers must know as much as they can about each child’s likes and dislikes. No one knows more about these things than you, the parents. And no one has more influence over your children than you. That’s why teachers need your help to do a first-class job. Working together, you and the teacher can help your child have a successful school year.


Using Technology to Get Involved
By Debra Rossi, M.Ed., sixth-grade teacher at David Gourley Elementary School, Salt Lake City Using just basic technology can help a parent be involved in their child’s learning and life. Most schools have Web pages that will guide parents through registration, fees and even lunch accounts, complete with menus and pricing. Some teachers have Web pages as well. These pages often include assignments and links for learning. Grades are posted on the Internet and you can check your child’s progress any time! Technology is an easy and efficient way to participate in a child’s educational efforts. Many teachers have information on their Web page showing what they are doing in class. In the upper grades, parents can track their student’s grades, attendance, citizenship, test scores, lunch account balances, etc. Elementary grades will often provide grades and missing assignments. All of this information is kept confidential through the use of personal passwords which you set at your convenience. Technology is a great way for parents to be more involved in their child’s education in today’s busy world.
Children and Television
Did you know American children watch an average of 3 to 5 hours of television each day? Although TV can be fun and educational, it’s important to know what your children are watching – to make sure it’s not too much, and to make sure it doesn’t stop them from doing schoolwork. Need help? Here are some tips from the U.S. Department of Education:

  • Monitor what your child is watching and, whenever possible, watch the programs with your child.
  • Pick a TV show to watch as a family. What kind of conversations can you start from the TV show? For instance, ask, “Why are those people in the program so unkind to each other?”
  • Plan other activities, such as crafts, reading, doing homework, or writing letters, instead of watching TV. Try to plan at least one different activity each week.
  • Avoid using TV as a babysitter.
  • Avoid using TV as a reward or punishment. It gives TV too much importance.
  • Turn off the TV during meals and study time.
Computers let students travel around the world without ever leaving their desks at school or their homes. They can make learning easier and more fun, and learning how to use them will give your child many advantages in the future. Want to help your child better understand computers and how they can ensure a quality education? Here are some tips from the U.S. Department of Education:

  • Find out how computers are used at your child’s school.
  • At school, can your child use the Internet? Are there safeguards or filters to prevent inappropriate use?
  • If you don’t have a computer at home, find out if the local library or community center has computers your child can use to do homework and other school projects.
  • Ask about the kind of work that your child is doing on the computer. Does it sound challenging? Is your child excited about learning on the computer?
  • Take a computer class or learn how to use the computer to assist your child at home. Does the school, local library, or community center offer computer training for adults?

Safe at School

School Safety
Students learn best and achieve their full potential in safe and orderly classrooms. This positive academic environment begins with safe families and safe communities. Statistically, schools continue to be one of the most secure places for our children. As Americans, Utah Education Association members have no tolerance for violence at school. That’s why we’re working as part of the greater society — and in our individual neighborhoods — to improve them. Some of us argue for “hard” responses such as metal detectors, added security personnel, and zero-tolerance for weapons possession. Others favor “soft” solutions that include more counseling, conflict-resolution programs, and better communications between school and home. It will take a combination of both approaches — administered with reason and centered in respect — to keep our children from harm.
Talking to Children After a Tragedy
September 11, 2001 forever changed the world, but it also made us more aware of the importance of helping our children in times of disaster. When tragedy strikes, you should:

  • Provide children with opportunities to talk about what they are seeing on television and to ask questions.
  • Don’t be afraid to admit that you can’t answer all their questions.
  • Answer questions at a level the child can understand.
  • Provide ongoing opportunities for children to talk. They will probably have more questions as time goes on.
  • Use this as an opportunity to establish a family emergency plan. Feeling that there is something you can do may be very comforting to both children and adults.
  • Monitor children’s television watching. Some parents may wish to limit their child’s exposure to graphic or troubling scenes. To the extent possible, watch reports of the disaster with children. It is at these times that questions might arise.
  • In addition to the tragic things they see, help children identify good things, such as heroic actions, families who are grateful for being reunited, and the assistance offered by people throughout the country and the world.

Be A Part of it All

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