Parent Tips

5 Things Parents Should Do 

As A teacher, I always have parents asking me, “What can I do at home?” The truth is, elementary students, do not improve more when you give them more work. It is proven homework does not improve scores. Parents sometimes get too focused on making their kid the best or making their kid happy. I get it! You want the best for the mini-you but my suggestions are usually much simpler than what parents think. And believe or not, most tips have nothing to do with school.

1. Play Word Games with Children

Get the student thinking and using their vocabulary. This can help with spelling and vocabulary development. Scrabble and Boggle are two great games. You can also put sand in a cooking pan or shaving cream on a flat surface and ask your kids to spell site words given by a teacher. The key is to make practicing fun!


2. Encourage Reading for Pleasure

The best way to get this done is to read for pleasure yourself. Every night, schedule a time where everyone in the house is reading. Also, make it important that it is for fun! Afterward, share what you read about. (If you are reading an x-rated book, just take the x-rated stuff out in your summary!) But kids learn best through example. What great activity to do after dinner and before ice cream or desserts!


3. Let Kids be Kids

Give the student enough time to play. Parents always ask me for more homework. Homework has been proven to not improve student scores below high school. I teach elementary school. The only thing that shows improvement is reading. Homework otherwise becomes more or less busy work because it should be done by the student without assistance. Kids need to explore the outdoors and play. This will be more beneficial in the long run. They also get a break after a long day of work.


4. Mean No When You Say It

This is my biggest pet peeve as a teacher. I can tell the different between the child testing me and the child who does not understand the word no. The child testing me stops testing me when they understand I mean business. The child who has no idea what no means constantly questions all year. Mean exactly what you say and most of the time the child brings that lesson to school and their social life. The belief people at face value. Now I don’t mind the child who tests me and wants to see if I mean what I say. I expect it! Thrive on it. However, getting testing in March is boring and very annoying.

5. Love Your Child

Spend time with your child. Do fun things with them. They crave your approval and attention. Be sure your child knows you approve them. Most students want to make their parents proud. Also, sometimes the students aren’t the best behaved because they are seeking attention and approval from me. Shower them with love and I will see the changes in the classroom. A happy kid walking through the door is more willing to learn every day!


Do you have additional ideas? Have you tried something else that was successful? I would love to hear about it. Send an email to

4 thoughts on “Parent Tips

  1. Simon

    We don’t have kids however we do have our nephew and niece most weekends plus through the week on many occasions so we understand how to occupy them, play games and say No! which we’ve found the hardest to be honest.

    We always make time for them and spend time by involving them in all our activities as this is essential in our view, it’s what seems to be missing from a lot of kids lives today plus we try and mix the days up to prevent boredom which isn’t easy especially when they both are xbox addicts, ha!

    Scrabble as you mention is a great learning game, our niece’s knowledge and vocabulary has increased many fold this last year and we’re sure scrabble has played a huge part in her learning curve.

    The hardest part for us being an outsider as so to speak has been the saying No! part. We do have ground rules and they understand that we live totally different lives yet we know deep inside they appreciate the time we spend with them plus we share everything, something they don’t seem to get at home.

    Do you have kids?
    Great tips you have mentioned here, thanks,

    1. Kristina Hines

      I am planning on having kids. I do have 3 nephews myself and I agree saying no is very hard. Saying no to a student you like a lot is very hard as well. I think kids pick up on the feeling if it is easy or hard for you. I have many parents of energetic kids, say they really enjoy my class because I feel like I like them. The feeling of being liked is important. I do think kids realize that no does not mean you dislike them. It also depends on how you say no. As a teacher, I give a choice which favors me a lot. “Tim you can go to break with your friends and finish two more sentences in your story or you can stay with me during break and I can help you finish.” Tim always picks the first choice because Tim did pick the second choice and lost his break. I told Tim, “I feel really bad but this is the choice you made.” So I recommend to make as many of your “nos” built within choice. My nephews are 4 years old and under. The can not fully reason yet but my brother and whole family pretend they can. I guess most people feel like they do not want to be their parents. But you can say no and still hold a caring, considerate approach.

      Parents usually bring up if I have kids. I usually say, “Yes I have x kids.” The x represents how many I teach. Juggling that many kids in a fun learning environment is quite tiring and tricky. But it is highly rewarding.

  2. Andrew

    I think that if you have the ability to teach regardless of what country you are in you can definitely deliver you skills on a more universal stage. There must be millions of children all over the world that would benefit from an education from teachers abroad. Very good concept indeed.

    1. Kristina Hines

      Thank you so much Andrew. All my experience has been abroad. I only did 1 year of substituting in the States. That is a great idea to include more parents and teachers from the States or from English speaking countries. My focus is really to get International Teachers or English Teachers out an working overseas. It is a wonderful experience and a great career change for those interested.

      What is your experience as a parent or as an uncle (if you have nieces and nephews) ?

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