The Dear Teacher/December
The Dear Teacher
By Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts
New Year’s Resolutions to Put Your Children on the Path to A’s and B’s
Parents: What you do directly influences how successful your children will be in school. They don’t have to be geniuses to get A’s and B’s in school. This is an absolute myth. However, you do have to instill in them a willingness to work hard and a desire to do their best in order for them to be rewarded with top grades. Because it the start of a new year and the traditional time to make resolutions, why don’t you choose one or more of the following resolutions to make sure your children are truly on the path to making the Honor Roll each grading period. Resolve to…
- Praise your children for making an effort to do well in school.
- Communicate the importance of education.
- Establish the homework habit.
- Encourage your children to talk about what happened at school each day.
- Eat dinner with your children every night.
- Monitor the type and amount of TV your children watch.
- Limit the time your children spend using electronic gadgetry.
- Stress the importance of good attendance records.
- Limit the number of extracurricular activities in which your children participate.
- Work closely with your children’s teachers.
- Help your children learn organizational skills.
- Teach your children how to set and accomplish realistic long- and short-term goals.
- Help your children learn more about the world.
- Take your children to museums and historical sights.
- Encourage your children to read as much as they can.
- Avoid homework battles by using a homework contract.
- Express enthusiasm about how much they are learning in school.
Is Video Addiction a real Addiction?
Question: We think the reason our eighth grader is suddenly doing poorly in school is because of the amount of time he spends playing video games. Is there such a thing as addiction to video games? How can we get him to start studying more? – Possible Addiction
Answer: The American Psychological Association doesn’t believe that there is enough evidence yet to formally consider too much game playing a disorder. There is wide-spread agreement, however, that spending an excessive amount of time playing these games results in behavior similar to that of addicts of many substances.
According to the Center for On-Line Addiction that does consider there is such a thing as video gaming addiction, the signs of such an addiction are:
- Playing for increasing amount of time
- Thinking about gaming during other activities
- Gaming to escape from real-life problems, anxiety or depression
- Lying to friends and family to conceal gaming
- Feeling irritable when trying to cut down on gaming
The question isn’t so much whether or not excessive video gaming is an addiction, but whether or not it is affecting your son’s school work. And this sounds like a definite possibility.
First of all, you need to determine when and for how long he is playing these games. Then you can set time limits on playing these games as well as set the rule that the game playing device must be in a family room at all times so that you can clearly see when he is playing video games. It is also sensible to establish the rule that your son’s homework must be done and inspected by you before he can play every day.
If your son reacts violently to any suggestion of limiting his gaming time, then there may be a serious problem going so far as to require professional help.
Freezing up on Tests – How to Resolve
Question: My 10-year-old son freezes up whenever he takes a test. The teacher offered him more time, but it did not help. It just gave him more time to be panicked. Is there anything that can I do to help him overcome test anxiety? – Very Anxious
Answer: The best way for children in elementary school to feel confident before taking a test is simply to keep up with their work and make sure they understand what is being studied. Reviewing sufficiently is another one of the big secrets to facing tests with confidence – not panic. Your son needs to review every evening. In fact, over-learning material is one way to reduce test anxiety.
Another helpful hint in avoiding test anxiety is knowing what will be on the test. Teachers usually review for tests. During the review period, teach your son to write down and underline anything the teacher identifies with "You really need to know this!" He should also complete and review all study guides that the teacher uses in class.
Some anxious students find it helpful to make up tests from study guides and chapter questions to practice taking a test so they realize that they know the material. These techniques should be helpful unless your son's problem is really one of an inability to learn the material.
Parents should send questions and comments to email@example.com or ask them on the columnists’ Web site at www.dearteacher.com.