Family Table Talk Tip

Does your teen show signs of a reading problem?

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Teens who can’t read well often find ways to hide the problem. Watch for these signs: Your teen doesn’t read spontaneously, either for pleasure or information; he gets upset when he has reading assignments; he has trouble reading signs or following instructions on a package; or he frequently reads words out of order or incorrectly. …Read More


Ask questions before your child turns in writing assignments

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Before your child turns in a writing assignment, help her review it. Here are some questions to keep in mind: Can you understand what she’s trying to say? Does each paragraph focus on one specific idea? Does each sentence have a subject and a verb, and express a complete thought? Has your child used words …Read More


What do parents of successful students have in common?

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There’s no recipe for creating a successful student. But the parents of many successful students have some things in common. They encourage and support their children. They read to them. They make sure that their kids get enough sleep and exercise, and that they eat breakfast before coming to school. And these parents expect their …Read More


These strategies help take the stress out of tests

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With college applications ahead, some high school students get anxious about every quiz and test. Your teen still needs to study, but sharing these test-taking strategies with him may ease his mind: Read all the test questions carefully. Answer the easy questions first. Mark the tough ones, so you can return to them easily. For …Read More


Don’t send a helicopter message to your child

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Helicopter parents who rescue their children at the first sign of trouble are sending them a message: “You can’t do it without me.” Their children never learn how to handle situations themselves. They may not even believe they can. As long as your child is safe, let him try to solve a problem on his …Read More


For science practice, have your teen teach you

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One of the best ways to learn something is to try to explain it to someone else. Instead of just looking over your teen’s science homework, have her teach it to you. To do it, she’ll need to consider questions such as: What is the main idea? What makes it useful? Do I agree with …Read More


Do you know what your child is watching?

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Take time today to evaluate your child’s use of screen media. How many hours a day does she spend watching TV, playing video games, surfing the internet or texting? Are screens distracting her from her schoolwork? Find out what your child is looking at or playing online. Then, make a plan. Set a screen-time schedule …Read More


Make changes that help your sleepy teen get going in the morning

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If your teen has trouble getting up in the morning, help him make changes to other parts of his day. Have him study in the afternoon, for example, so he won’t have to stay up late. Make sure he gets plenty of exercise so he’ll sleep well at night. Encourage him to organize things each …Read More


Take a look at your child’s homework

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Experts say that reviewing your child’s homework is important no matter what grade he’s in. Set aside time each day to look at your child’s homework, even if you aren’t there when he does it. Ask him to tell you about it. Was it easy? Challenging? What can he tell you about the subject? Compliment …Read More


Good attendance is part of being a good student

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Classwork and participation are key to your teen’s success in school. Regular attendance matters! Your teen must be in school unless she is sick or has an emergency. So avoid scheduling medical appointments during school hours. Don’t ask your teen to babysit younger children when she should be in school. And if she skips school …Read More


Are you an ‘askable’ parent?

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Children are full of questions, and they will seek answers where they can. Being an “askable” parent is the best way to ensure that you will be your child’s primary source of information and values. Tell your child you want to answer her questions. Never punish, tease or judge your child for asking a question. …Read More


Volunteering benefits the community…and your teen

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When you volunteer as a family, you make the community better and your family stronger. And you help teach your teen many important lessons. Volunteering teaches teens tolerance. It gives them the confidence that they can make a difference. It promotes responsibility. Search the internet for local organizations working on issues that matter to your …Read More


To build math and science skills, do the laundry

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Doing laundry with your child is a great chance to help him put his math and science skills into action. To practice observation, for example, ask your child, “Does this shirt feel different from that one? Why could that be?” Sorting clothes by color or family member helps him learn to classify. You can also …Read More


Make room in busy schedules for family time

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Parents are their children’s first teachers. And your child is still learning from you! That’s why it’s so important to make time together a priority. To find more time, write down everything you do in a week. Is there anything you can pass off to someone else so you can spend the time with your …Read More


Prepare for a great parent-teacher conference

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Attending a parent-teacher conference is one of the important ways you can work with the teacher to help your child learn. Preparation is the key to a successful conference. Make a list of things to tell the teacher about your child (interests, strengths, challenges, etc.). Make another list of things to ask about (grades, behavior, …Read More


Encourage a daily act of kindness

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We all want our children to grow up to be kind and caring people. Here’s a simple way you can help: With your child, make a list of all the children in the class. Each morning, ask your child to choose a different name from the list. Talk about a specific way she could show …Read More


Good homework habits follow when you set the stage

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To help your child develop good homework habits, establish a regular time for homework. Turn off the TV and provide a quiet place for your child to study. Stay nearby to be sure he understands the work. Have your child estimate how long an assignment will take. Then when he’s finished, he can see how …Read More


Chores, chance, choice and a chart develop responsibility

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To boost responsibility with chores and get your kids to pitch in, write each chore on a slip of paper. If a job has to be done every day, write it six times. Put the slips in a jar. Then make a chart with each child’s name down the side and the days of the …Read More


Family time is when you make it

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How can you help your family find more time for togetherness in our fast-paced world? Call a family “time out.” Stop and talk about what you’d like to do as a family and how to achieve it. Set specific goals, such as eating four family dinners together a week. Post them where you will all …Read More


Saving words in a ‘bank’ can improve writing

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Young writers often have trouble thinking of words to write. Making a word bank helps your child think of words in advance. To help, ask your child to list, for example, words that mean “said” (asked, whined, shouted, whispered, yelled, etc.). Have her write them in a notebook under the heading “said.” She might also …Read More


You ARE qualified to help your child learn math

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You can help your child learn math even if you don’t remember any of the math you took in school. Here are some tips: Ask your child questions about his math homework, such as “How did you arrive at that answer?” or “Look at the page of problems. Do you see a pattern?” Involve your …Read More


Successful learners do more than just listen

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To learn well, your child needs to do more than just listen in class. She needs to arrive at school well-rested and prepared, with completed homework and supplies. In class, she should ask questions, offer opinions and participate in discussions. At home, help her create a system she can use to organize her schoolwork. Encourage …Read More


Revive your child’s interest in reading

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By the ages of seven and eight, many children are starting to read longer “chapter” books. Some kids, however, are losing interest in reading. To keep your child reading, find books on his interests. Or share books you loved as a child. Get a craft book and make a project together, or try interactive books …Read More


Support your child’s homework efforts

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What can you do to help your child with homework this year? First, make sure she has a quiet, well-lit place to work, a regular homework time each day, and basic supplies, such as paper, pencils, pens and a ruler. Then, ask questions, such as: What’s your assignment today? Is it clear? When is it …Read More


Celebrate your child’s very own library card

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What do you do to celebrate special days in your child’s life? Did you take pictures on the first day of school? Did you save a lock of hair from his first haircut? Getting a library card is another big “first.” It opens a world of learning to your child. If he doesn’t have a …Read More