How to help your child enjoy the school year

Zenoyise Madikwa

Zenoyise Madikwa

It's school time again. For some kids it's time for new teachers, new friends and maybe even a new school.

Going back to school after a holiday of fun, without schedules and homework, can be a rough time in your child's life.

Andile Masebe, a former principal, says a new school year is a time for new beginnings for your child and for the entire family.

Masebe says it is therefore important to consider a few things to start this school year off on the right track.

"The most important thing is to discuss what's going on this school year with your child and agree on some big objectives you can all work towards. For example, if this is the year to learn multiplication and division, discuss this goal with your child and make sure he or she knows you're there to support him or her achieve his or her goal," he says.

Masebe says it is important to make contact with your child's teacher during the first week. He says that by establishing a relationship early on you can head off problems long before they develop.

Tips for helping your child study

Establish a routine

Setting a regular time and sticking to it helps children complete their homework assignments.

Set the mood

Ensure the room your child studies in is quiet, has plenty of light and has school supplies close at hand. Remove distractions by turning off the television and discouraging social phone calls during homework time.

Show an interest

Ask your child about school activities and talk about what was discussed in school that day. Take your child to the library to check out materials for homework and make time to read with your child as often as you can.

Monitoring homework assignments

Find out about the school's policy on homework at the beginning of the school year. Ask your child's teachers about the kind of assignments that will be given and what kind of time frame the children have to complete them in.

Be involved

Ask the teacher how you can help with homework. Be available to answer your child's questions, look over completed assignments and encourage your child to share returned assignments so you can read the teacher's comments.

Providing guidance to homework assignments

Understand your child's learning style and develop routines that best support how he or she learns best.

Encourage good study habits

Help your child get organised.


Discuss homework with your child. Talking about an assignment can help your child think it through and break it down into small, workable parts.

Provide encouragement

Find ways to support your child's efforts in completing assignments.

Reading with your child

Let your child know how important it is to read regularly. Establish a regular time and place for reading.

Read to your child

Make time to read to your child on a regular basis. It is a great way to help develop a love of learning.

Keep reading matter close by

Make sure children's books and magazines are easily accessible. Keep a basket of books in the family room, kitchen or your child's bedroom to encourage him or her to read more often.

Visit the library

Make visits to the library a regular activity and let your children select their own books.

Be a reading role model

Read a lot. Let your child see you read and hear you talk about your books. - www.