Any advice for parents with K-4 kids?

<p>Don't rely on school to be the only exposure your kids get to the world. Don't allow them to only care about or know about what's "on the test." Many times, my kids commented that they'd try to talk about something interesting, only to have their friends reply, "oh, we don't have to know that."</p>

<p>Be your kids' window to the world--go to museums, historic sites, ethnic grocery stores and restaurants, cities (use public transportation!), rural areas (milk a cow!). Read a daily newspaper and talk about what's going on in the world. Get a map and a globe and look at the places you're talking about. Fill your house with books about all sorts of topics. You never know what a kid will pick up and read and be excited by. Teach your kids how to use the library <em>and</em> the internet!</p>

<p>Find something YOU are passionate about and let your kids see you pursuing your interests. Invite them to join you (but be ok if they aren't interested). Historical re-enacting, community theater, bike-riding, bird-watching, collecting something, playing music . . . Let them see that the world is an interesting place full of all sorts of new and interesting ideas and that we can keep learning about it all our lives.</p>

<p>Don't let school define their world.</p>

<p>I had a very relaxed attitude with D2 and it all seems to work out ok. She never went to pre-school, didn't know how to write nor read by kindergarden. Had trouble counting till 100(I remember I had to help her). But she caught up by 3rd grade. She has been getting straight As on her own, i.e she pushes herself. She was never a reader either but her SAT CR is pretty reasonable, her PSAT is in the 99th percentile. So my advice is to back off, let the kid do what he/she wants to do. It's very tiring to be a tigerparent.</p>

<p>Teach organization. My youngest is in 4th grade and her school is big on ECs. She sometimes feels overwhelmed. We figured that it's not that she's over scheduled, she's unorganized. So, we're trying to help her keep a calendar/agenda and teach her how to break down big tasks to do over the week.</p>

<p>Get a sandbox. And blocks and legos. Read to your kid and find books they like to read on their own. It doesn't matter if it's Captain Underpants or Star Wars books. Just get them in the habit of enjoying reading. Keep video games out of your house as long as you can manage. Eat dinner together. Listen to your kids and talk to them. Play board and card games. Go to museums. Expose them to a bunch of sports and other physical activities, but let them drop what they don't enjoy. That goes for other activities. Both my kids enjoyed competitive chess for many years, but dropped it for other activities in high school. My kids loved various science related after school things. I think (if you can afford it) every child should have music lessons and at least learn to read music. </p>

<p>I agree about getting involved in the organizations your kids are in. I was very involved in the PTA and made many wonderful friends there.</p>

<p>Plan ahead. If I had been thinking, I would have relocated to a state with an excellent variety of instate public universities (my state doesn't have anything really good except the flagship...which is in the middle of the boondocks). Think Virginia or North Carolina or Michigan or Ohio. By living someplace with excellent instate publics that have reasonable costs (note, I didn't include CA because I think even their instate costs are high...plus living there is VERY costly) and by choosing a place with a reasonable cost of living, you won't feel like college is strangling you financially.</p>

<p>Echoing others' advice to prioritize school, instill a love of reading, and advocate for your children. </p>

<p>Also, monitor the time demands of young kids' extracurriculars. For our family, it was infinitely more important (and rewarding) in the long run to have kids who enjoy and value learning -- and are aware of the possibilities open to such kids -- than to have children who make a travel sports team at age 8.</p>

<p>Get rid of the TV. Use the time you would've spent watching TV with your kids, reading, conversing, doing puzzles, making art or music, playing games. Take the money you would've spent on cable, Netflix, and videos, and put it into college savings.</p>

<p>Save for college! Do not assume your child will get a scholarship. Merit scholarships are rare. As another poster pointed out, you don't have to have 100% saved, but save something.</p>

<p>Look out for their talents when they're young. The artist, the salesperson, the math wiz, the diplomat, the writer, the athlete, the one who LOVES something. When they actually say "when I grow up I want to be a..." Take note right there. And be prepared to help them later on if that's the eventual direction they decide to take. If they love everything (or nothing), help them with the research to find a path. Expose them to as many different experiences that you can afford.
Don't make them just read--PARTICIPATE! We read as a family through the whole Harry Potter series, Lord of the Rings, many classics. We took turns reading out loud chapter by chapter. Greatest form of entertainment ever--all through school and beyond. The last thing we read was King Lear (out loud) on the way to college...
Enjoying your kids is really the best gift you can give them.</p>

<p>Be your child's parent, not their friend. Your children will mimic your behavior so act accordingly. Be a respectful, loving spouse and a kind child to your parents so your child will have a good role model. Set high but not impossible expectations based on each child's ability. Value the effort not the result. Travel and explore the world even if it is just the next town. Value experiences not stuff.</p>

<p>In grades 7 through 9, the kids are starting to gravitate towards whichever social group they are going to be part of. These were the ages when I was especially vigilant about knowing who they were hanging out with at school. Some of the children, sadly, will already be getting in trouble with alcohol and drugs. Get into the habit of knowing who is giving the parties and check personally whether adult chaperones will be there. Volunteer to help. Be the parent who drives the kids to the dances and to the movies.</p>

<p>Pay attention. Go to parent night at school. Every night after school, ask your kid how his day went. Ask questions. Know who his friends are, who the class bully is, what happens in PE class.</p>

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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.

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<p>I agree with vlines.</p>

<p>My child went to a good school, but he was not challenged. I personally was disappointed with the gifted classes, which he attended throughout elementary school, because they (by design) seemed to do fun activities without much substance. I think my child would have benefitted much more by being offered an advanced math class, or advanced writing class. I wish the educators would find a solution for this pervasive problem, even if it only affects the smartest kids.</p>

<p>Expose your child to many things, so the child can discover what they love. You can begin to see some hints of this when they are young if you watch carefully and don't impose your own ambitions on the child. You don't want to wait too long to begin some things, like piano.</p>

<p>Given a do-over, I'd go with homeschooling. Travel. More hugs, less yelling. I'd still keep the single tv and computer we had when the kids were younger and impose the time limits we had on their use. Oh, and I'd make sure that we were obnoxiously wealthy.</p>

<p>We were lucky enough to live about 2 hours from downtown Chicago when the kids were young. We were poor and couldn't take family vacations anywhere, but we did go into Chicago fairly often. </p>

<p>We visited all kinds of free stuff. We found out when all the major musuems had their free days and went then. One year both sides of the family were busy with other stuff on Thanksgiving, so we went to the Musuem of Science and Industry on Thanksgiving. They don't have many free days, Thanksgoving may have been the only one that year. The kids moaned about not having turkey but loved seeing the musuem. We couldn't afford both the gas and admission fees but mananged to see all of the museums at least once, some several times.</p>

<p>So, have your kids explore in ways you can afford. It fuels imagination and builds memories.</p>

<p>Love them the way they are. Embrace the things they are enthusiastic about, even if you don't "get" it. Worry less.(In 20 years, no one will care what they took in high school. In 25, nobody will care where they went to college) Hug them more. Read, read, read. Turn off the tv, the laptop, the iPad. Read. You read too. Go places and see things --we are convinced that experiences are more valuable than things. </p>

<p>My sons' favorite memory is the year we went (as always) to my family's camp 300 miles away on a lake (because it was cheap). They concocted this scheme where they measured the lake depth from a paddleboat -- as the afternoon wore on, they experimented with various techniques, failed at a bunch of them, came up with solutions, charted the thing....they were utterly absorbed in entertainment of their own devising, with no adult "help"/interference. Create those experiences.</p>

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Take advice from people who have BTDT -

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<p>That's exactly what I seek and there are so many here. Invaluable advice, one after another.</p>

<p>Just adding a few I didn't see mentioned above.</p>

<p>Expose your child to nature on a regular basis - not just on vacations. Foster an entrepreneurial attitude from the earliest age - kids can be starting and running businesses by 3yo. Music is as important as reading - playing and listening to. Science can be taught from the earliest ages and kids can be writing ten page stories by fourth grade. Teach the scientific method in K - encourage science fair competition at the elementary level.</p>

<p>Someone previously mentioned teaching organizational skills - very important.</p>

<p>"Love them the way they are" (thanks Greenbutton) and similar thoughts are so, so helpful to me right now! My 8-year-old daughter follows two boys and either my memories of their challenges have gone the way of childbirth recollections, or she is far more difficult. Oh, the drama! I find myself thinking evil thoughts ('why aren't you like your brothers') and having fears as wild as hers ('she's going to be the high school drama queen/flirt'). It helps to be grounded a bit by reminders like this. Though I do want to know: how do moms of girls help them have good judgment? Thankfully, my boys are wise (so far) and safe. But my daughter seems different. Anything different you should say or do for girls?</p>

<p>One doesn’t understand the other very well. One of the reasons may be because the latter often need to experience it firsthand to understand it, whatever “it” is. Here are two examples with exaggeration.</p>

<ol>
<li><p>FT parent: My son scored a 2340 on SAT in 6th grade. What should I do to help him? BTDT parent: Help him become more independent. FT parent: What (can't you be nicer)?</p></li>
<li><p>FT parent: My daughter took 15 APs and scored a 5 on each. BTDT parent: AP classes in HS are likely to be mile wide inch deep. FT parent: (sour grape or rich BS parent)?</p></li>
</ol>

<p>Mom of NEA, do things with and for your daughter to make her more independent. Have her take a martial arts or self defense class. Help her learn how to spend/save/use money wisely (take her shopping and have her figure out the best value for a pair of jeans or a bag of frozen green beans based on quality, size of bag, etc). Just do things with and for her so she learns how to rely on herself. That will build self confidence and there will be less drama.</p>