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Kids need sleep to perform well at school

Published On: Jan 24 2012 12:44:28 PM CST
Updated On: Oct 29 2013 11:24:48 AM CDT
students celebrating last day of school

iStock / monkeybusinessimages

(NewsUSA) - As the school year passes the halfway point, some kids may get distracted from their studies. If you and your kids want to re-focus on school success, here are some suggestions for kick-starting learning:

* Commit to learning. With your children, come up with one or two major goals that you want to accomplish for the remainder of this school year. Raising that algebra grade? Getting homework done on time and turning it in the next day? Organizing a study area at home? Using a planner regularly and efficiently? Agree on some age-appropriate rewards and consequences. Commit to a family-centered goal that education is important to all of you, and work together to support, encourage and help each other.

* Set up helpful routines. Give your kids the consistency of fairly regular routines (weekends and holidays can be breaks). Bedtime, wake-up, study, homework, play, family time -- kids rely on these routines, and the structure helps them to feel safe, know what's expected of them and be successful.

* Help them organize. Organized kids do better in school than haphazard kids. Help them to set up their planners (written or electronic), to keep their notebooks and backpacks neat and orderly, to break up large assignments into smaller ones so they don't seem overwhelming, to maintain a work space at home that's actually workable and not a disaster area, and to stick to the goals you've set together.

* Maintain healthy habits. Healthy kids are better learners. Help your children by monitoring their screen time (TV, video games, cell phones, etc.), making sure they're getting enough sleep, insisting on their good eating habits, making sure they're involved in regular and aerobic exercise, and sticking to the goals and routines you've established.

* Be a good role model. Kids learn from their parents. If they see that you're organized, focused on what's important to you and your family, staying healthy and being true to your values, they'll pick up some pretty important life lessons.

* Don't give up. Let your kids know that you're serious about these goals and that their school success is as critical to you as it is to them.

* Get help early if you need it. When your kids show that they're having trouble despite your best efforts, get help early. Ask a teacher or guidance counselor for help. Get a tutor. Find a "study buddy" for your kid. Just get help before the little problem grows into a big one.

* Ask other parents. You're not the only one trying to keep your kids on track. Learn from parents who've been through this, teachers who've guided hundreds of kids and others whose opinions you respect. No one has all the answers, but all of us have a lot of ideas.