15+ Ways to Boost School Success

Encourage Social Skills

11. Teach your child to ask for what he needs. It's essential for students to be able to tell the teacher, "I don't understand," says Parents adviser Sharon L. Ramey, Ph.D., director of the Georgetown University Center on Health and Education, in Washington, D.C. One way to teach this lesson: Slip in some more-sophisticated words when you're reading a book to your child, and say, "When we read tonight, I'm going to use some new words and I want you to stop and ask me if you want to know about a word." Let your child know that teachers like to have children ask them questions about new words too.

12. Focus on manners and social skills. Expect your child to say "please," "thank you," and "excuse me." If he's a first-time student, help him practice sharing, taking turns, and standing in line. You might role-play and say, "What if you and another student both want to play with the same blocks. What could you do?"

13. Rehearse at home. "My son, Jack, has a tough time speaking to a group, so we sometimes practice show-and-tell at home. I pretend I'm his teacher, and his twin sister pretends she's another kid in the class, and he goes to the front of the room and does his presentation," says Leslie Lido, of Merrick, New York.

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