Fix your kids

All children go through naughty fazes. Here's how to turn it from a horror into a hiccup

Education

Teachers love to see improvement, which means that kids who’ve sunk as low as they can go have even more room to impress than their classmates. A willingness to do better may be all your child needs to turn themselves around.

Naughty, naughty

Kids act up in class. It’s a fact of life. But fear not, here’s how you can help:
• Communicate with the teacher. Kenneth Riggs, a school counsellor, explains that, ‘Good teachers wipe the slate clean every day because they know kids change throughout their time in school.’

• Identify the source of the behaviour. ‘We find that most of the time, when students are misbehaving, it’s because of a larger problem,’ explains curriculum administrator Micheline Mazubert. ‘A student may act out because he needs help.’ Find out if your child has a problem with vision or hearing which may be manifesting itself in naughty behaviour.

Lazy bones

Some kids allow their marks to slip out of simple laziness. But, it’s never too late to pick up the mantle of change. ‘Students can do as much good in the second half of the year as they did damage in the first,’ says Felim Bolster, a high school principal. ‘The effect of one bad semester is just a small percentage of the overall average of your four years of high school.’

Parents can help their kids improve by creating an environment that is conducive to concentration. Consider establishing a set time and place for study: around the kitchen table is a good spot, as you can monitor what they’re doing and answer questions.

Higgledy piggledy

While some students have an almost obsessive eye for organisation, others can barely get themselves out the door in the morning. But, kids can learn:
• Categorise. Tell them to go through their school bag, desk and locker and put everything in one place, then separate school stuff into piles, one for each class.

• Make a list. No one can remember everything, and organised people often don’t even try.

• Listen to the teacher. Many educators, especially those of younger grades, will have certain expectations as to how they’d like to see pupils organise notes and the assignments they set.

• Think ahead. It’s easy for homework assignments, PE kits, reading glasses and other essentials to get lost in the morning rush to get out the door.

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