Any advice for parents with K-4 kids?

<p>I’d say that college admissions should not be one of the things on your mind.</p>

<p>I have advice. Get your kid reading. And then read some more.</p>

<p>Talk WITH your kids. Not TO. Not AT.</p>

<p>Discover what your children are good at and like. Encourage them in that direction as long as it remains enjoyable. These interests may end up being the basis for their EC's over the years. Don't pursue them to the extent of being pushy/ obsessive. Be willing to have children try new things, as well.</p>

<p>I have a college freshman and 3rd grade twins. I am trying to make sure they do well enough. </p>

<p>Make sure you know what you kids are doing in school and that they are really getting the concepts. Make sure they are doing the homework even in later years. Make sure you know what kind of grades they are getting before they come out. It was a big mistake one year for us. DD was not doing well in Pre-Algebra and never told anyone until we got the notice from school. She was always a good and honest kid but didn't want us to know she was doing so bad. All it took was a little help and she was back on track. Read, read and read with your kids. Make sure they are understanding the meaning of the words and what the book is really about. I find some kids can read really well but don't really understand what they are reading. </p>

<p>Save for college no matter how painful it is right now.</p>

<p>make sure that they take school seriously, but like it. In our home, college is an expectation for our son. So from a very early age, we discussed college as a continuation of education. Not as a "priviledge", but as an expectation. Which school he went to was the priviledge he had, and he had a lot of the control over that based on his school performance. </p>

<p>Expose them to many different things. If your local community college has any kids connection classes or summer camps, get them involved. As they get a little older, try to send them to some summer camps that are "academic" in nature, and on college campuses. CTY, EPGY have a bunch of these. But even if you are not involved in those programs, or can not afford them (like us!), there are many other opportunities for school age kids on college campuses both during the school year and summer programs. Some are residential, some are commuter. By having them go to camps and classes on campuses, they start to get a feel for dorm life, what they do and dont like about a campus, and it decreases the anxiety of a college campus. It also helps when it comes to choosing colleges. My son knew he did not like a campus in the middle of a big city because of this. It really helped to narrow choices. </p>

<p>Also, do some community service things with your kids. Small, simple things. But help them to learn about their community and figure out what is important to them in their community. </p>

<p>And save for college. Ask family members to put money into a college account instead of extravagant gifts for holidays and birthdays. Even if you can only put away a small amt each paycheck. </p>

<p>That is about all of the advice I have. Just have fun with your kids as much as you can!</p>

<p>Best thing your kids can do at that age is read, read, read.</p>

<p>Eat dinner together as a family more often than not. </p>

<p>Make sure your kids have time to play. Not practice a sport, not in supervised games, but play in ways that stretch their imaginations and in ways that give them exercise without having to think of it as exercise.</p>

<p>95% of our kids are NOT geniuses, Olympic or potential college athletes, musical prodigies, or the next child star. (I made up that percentage. You get my point.). Most of our kids have the potential to be good, maybe quite good, and to develop a life long enjoyment or passion for something, but are not going to be featured on the news. If your child is the star on her rec. soccer team and you think she should be playing at a higher level, investigate the higher levels of committment with a willing heart and a promise to listen to your child and to your gut. Make a promise to yourself that you will back off when your child wants to, or when you find your family sucked into a never ending time and money commitment that is no longer fun for your child. There are many studies showing a close correlation between major injuries and the repetitive motions required by playing one sport year round at too early an age. The same advice stands for any extra curricular activity... Music, dance, theater, even service activities and scouts. If you are dragging your unwilling kid to scout meetings because you volunteered to be the scout leader, please stop, and find things you can both enjoy doing together.</p>

<p>Your K-4 child should not be spending an hour or more each night on homework. If he is, you need to find out why.</p>

<p>My advice about saving for college: </p>

<p>Don't be dismayed by the huge figures that people will wave in front of you as the likely expense of your child's future education. Most of us simply don't have the capacity to save up that kind of money. So, instead save up what you can. In a regular savings account, in a CD, in a designated college fund like a 529, or just in a shoebox under your bed. If you go out for brunch every Sunday, cut back to two or three times each month, and chuck the difference into the college fund. Even $20 each month will add up with time.</p>

<p>You don't have to save the full cost of your child's education to make a difference in the choices that are available to them. If all you manage to put together is the difference between tuition and fees at a commuting-distance community college and tuition and fees at a commuting-distance public university, well that would mean that your DD or DS could have the option of starting out at the 4-year school rather than "having" to begin at the community college. If all you can save is the money for books and supplies, well that is money your kid won't have to make at a part-time job. Still a very good thing.</p>

<p>Lastly, remember that paying for college is part of your entire family budget. If your funds are truly limited, save for retirement first before putting money into the college fund. Yes this may restrict your children's college options a bit, but better that than expecting that they become responsible for the bulk of your support at a time when they are likely to be trying to raise their own families.</p>

<p>On finding a major, a career, or just their own bliss:</p>

<p>Pay attention to the things that they enjoy, and encourage their interests. Don't become too emotionally attached to those interests because they are likely to change from one year to the next (if not from one month/week/day to the next). If your child's interest is new to you, or points to a career that you think is financially risky or physically/emotionally dangerous, do your best to find out what it is that attracts your child to that career so that you can support your child's goals.</p>

<p>And, as always, love the kid that you have, rather than the kid that you thought you'd have.</p>

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And, as always, love the kid that you have, rather than the kid that you thought you'd have.

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<p>there should be t-shirts that say this!</p>

<p>If you think there are "issues" - ADD, Asperger's, hearing, vision, speach, mental health, intelligence - trust your gut and have it checked out. Don't wait for the school district to identify it, because they are strapped for funds and really don't want more kids receiving special services. Don't listen to the Vice Principal who says that every condition every kid ever had is perfectly normal. If an "issue" is discovered, read all you can and become an expert. I'm not saying to look for issues...but if something is nagging at you as being just not right, have it checked out.</p>

<p>

Could not agree more.</p>

<p>OH yes! About learning issues! Don't be afraid to become the parent with the reputation for pushiness or crankiness if that is what it takes to get your kid the help he/she needs.</p>

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And, as always, love the kid that you have, rather than the kid that you thought you'd have.

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<p>I love this.</p>

<p>Make it clear that school -- and homework -- are family priorities.</p>

<p>Make sure that there is an opportunity every day for each child to do their homework in an environment conducive to study. </p>

<p>For example, go out of your way to avoid dragging them to each other's sports activities and having them fill out worksheets on the bleachers. It may be possible to do homework this way, but the homework won't be done well, and the child will pick up the idea that homework isn't important. </p>

<p>And make sure that the kid with the sport commitment has time to do homework, too. If she has a basketball game at 6 p.m., she needs to start her homework immediately after school rather than going outside to play, to ensure that the homework will get done. </p>

<p>I also believe -- and I know that this is a minority opinion -- that no child should EVER miss school for a family vacation. It conveys exactly the wrong message about family priorities.</p>

<p>One of my kids, in a moment of anger, once said to me, "The only things you care about are safety rules and school." This was pretty close to accurate. My fanaticism about homework is exceeded only by my fanaticism about seat belts and bicycle helmets.</p>

<p>Let kids be kids. Give them time to enjoy, explore, relish in life. It's a long, hard slog through many years of schooling ahead; there has to be fun and time to just BE. And echo the words above - love the kids you have for who they are. And hold on; the time goes by so very quickly!</p>

<p>If your children develop issues and require out of the classroom help in certain areas--say speech, reading or whatever, be aware that this may make them feel defective. And that their classmates may look down on them for that. One of my kids had to removed from the classroom for extra help in various areas, and we only found out years later how difficult it was for him. Do I have a strategy for this? Sorry, no. Maybe others do. I do wish we would have been more aware and supportive.</p>

<p>And to echo others, love the child you have. Notice what your child is good at, and help facilitate his/her expertise in that area. It is good to excel at something--and it doesn't have to be the typical things we encounter in school. It could be mechanics, bike racing, raising animals, cooking etc.</p>

<p>Take your children seriously. Include them in conversations. Eat dinner together. If you are lucky, like we are, your adult friends will also take your children seriously. (and of course, you should reciprocate with other people's children.) For example, we have a friend who teaches English at an area college. When she noted that my grade school aged daughter had made a project out of reading all the Newberry award winning books, our friend would bring her books. And discuss them briefly with my daughter after they were read. Later, a friend of mine (who is daughterless) noted that he and my daughter shared an interest in a genre of books. So they'd trade books back and forth. I know my friend gets a big charge out of his surrogate daughter. It is great for kids to feel like their opinions matter. Because they do.</p>

<p>I have a feeling that young people who feel like they fit into the world of adults and are taken seriously by adults are less self destructively rebellious. They can imagine themselves in the adult world, and may make better choices because of that. (just a theory.)</p>

<p>Good luck!</p>

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<p>You bet me to it. That was my reaction when read the OP. Let a 9 year old worry about Pokemon (or whatever the latest fad is, I suppose Pokemon shows my age as my kids were into it -:) ) and soccer rather than get into the rat race (Kumon, ballet lessons, extra language lessons, Piano, and tennis to top a very busy school week.) Yes you can begin early, but to what avail.</p>

<p>There is an excellent book by the Tiger Mom.</p>

<p>Read, read, read. Make the library and bookstore one of your regular visits. </p>

<p>Go outside! Play, take walks, find out any parks in your area that have ranger led talks and hikes. </p>

<p>Play games as a family. Video games count. Take great delight when they figure out how to beat you. Don't be afraid to beat them; kids figure out pretty quickly when you've thrown the game. </p>

<p>Volunteer in an organization that they're involved in. School, sports, scouts, church. Something where they can see that you are connected in something that's important to them, plus you'll see how hard it can be for volunteer organizations and you won't turn into one of those parents who complains about everything and doesn't do squat. </p>

<p>Be the grown up, not the friend.</p>

<p>Make sure that there are fruits & veggies in your house.</p>

<p>Take advice from people who have BTDT - you're on the right track. Don't decide to go it alone.</p>

<p>Sorry to add another, but being an advocate for your student is really important. the US is behind in math and science for one reason, our schools. The kids that are good at math and science are not given the opportunities to move ahead, advance, and be the STEM students that everyone says we need. Be prepared to work with the school if you find your student is not being challenged, is not performing to their potential, or is bored. This is just as important as the advice on here to make sure you watch for difficulties and have your child properly diagnosed if you feel that there is problem.</p>