Welcome to the 3rd grade!
Third grade marks a time where students have more expected from them at school and their cognitive abilities are taking huge leaps forward. From beginning to compose short essays to learning how to write in cursive, there are a lot of changes going on for not only your child, but also for you who’s there right there with them. By following some of these tips and tricks you can help your child not only survive the 3rd grade, but excel with flying colors. Stay tuned!
1. Read With Someone
By the 3rd grade, children are fine-tuning their reading skills. Most 3rd graders are able to read independently and like anything else, the more they practice, the more fluent they become! Children can build their reading ability and their reading confidence by practicing reading aloud to you, to another sibling, or to a play mate whose over for a play date. Encourage your child to choose their reading material to assure they are interested, willing and wanting to practice their reading. Picture books, poetry, chapter books, magazines…the sky is the limit! After they are finished reading, ask your child questions about the meaning of what they just read. Talk with your child about your take on the reading material. Point out the difference between news, opinions, and stories. Setting aside even 15 minutes a day to let your child choose something to read, sit down in a comfy place and read to someone will not only build the child’s fluency and accuracy, but can a great bonding time for the child and their “someone.”
2. Keep It Fun
We all learn best when we are relaxed, open to new information and receptive to learning. This is where educational computer games can come in and help your child engage in learning without pressure, self-doubt or anxiety. Educational apps and computer games can reduce any stress of learning something new by molding it into a fun and self-motivating activity. For example, Math Game Time is utilized by home school teachers and classroom teachers to encourage their students to practice essential techniques needed AND have fun doing so. There are apps for all areas of learning, including practicing math with Math Monkey. This tip is not only practical, but quite easy to execute. Practicing while playing can be fit in between after-school activities and can be an educational pick-me-up when your student comes home from a busy day of school and just wants to have fun!
3. Get ‘em Moving!
Whether in the middle of a fraction worksheet or a math game app, your child is going to need a break. We all know movement and exercise helps keep the blood flowing and the brain working, so why not encourage your child to move and learn at the same time? ABC mats are a perfect way. How? Take turns with your child spelling a word or playing hangman with the letters. Run around the letters and wherever your child tells you to stop, make a word starting with that letter. Let your child do the same! Take turns making 5 letter words. Play freeze-dance on the mats and whatever letter is frozen on, think of a sentence that uses as many words that start with that letter as possible. The game possibilities are truly endless. This can promote learning, moving and foster connection between you and your child.
4. Take a Look Inside
By the time your student is in 3rd grade, peer relationships and the need to “fit in” are of increasing importance. You may notice that your child is beginning to form “clubs” with peers or he/she may continually shy away from being unique. Now is the time to put on your parenting super-cape and support your child through this critical social and emotional development. Ways to do this include setting clear boundaries with your child, so they know what is expected from them and what they can expect from you. Boundaries and rules help children feel safe and secure in their environment. Though it may be tough, sticking to your guns helps a child tolerate and manage frustration. You can also seek to abide by a manageable routine. Though it doesn’t have to be robotic, being as consistent as possible in your actions and words can help your child maintain a positive outlook on the world’s reliance and honesty. And last but certainly not least, be patient and always practice active listening when speaking/listening to your child. Children value being heard and boy, do they have something to say if you let them! By allowing your child to speak openly about whatever is on their minds you are establishing a place where they can be at ease expressing themselves and sharing their feelings with you.
5. Be a Friend
Lastly, make time to be a friend to your child. This means connecting with your child in whatever way possible. Get excited over things they are excited about. Try to relate to their likes and dislikes and get them talking on what’s important to them. By allowing your child to see that they matter, they are in turn realizing that they should respect themselves and seek to have others respect them. There is no greater gift you can give your child than letting them know and feel that you care. That way, no matter what math problem or what situation they have to tackle in the 3rd grade, they will feel able to overcome it with you by their side.
Thanks for reading!
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