Every family faces its challenges, and for homes with working parents that rely on childcare to do most of the raising of their children during waking/ working hours, the challenges can be even greater. Every parent wants to provide the best for their kids and hopes to give them a better life than they had. Working to keep a roof over their heads and nutritious food in their bellies is often the better we strive for. Many working parents suffer from some guilt in regards to how much (or, rather, little) time they get to spend with their kids and do everything to make those few precious hours quality ones. One area that causes particular guilt for working parents of school-aged kids is academics. While your child’s school does the bulk of educating your kids, parents know that it is their role to reinforce what is learned, clarify things, and to help support their child with homework and projects. When working parents have to rely on after-school childcare and get home around dinner time, there is little time in the evening to sit and focus on homework and this week’s words to spell.

At Just For Kids of Chicago, we understand the plight of the working parent and do everything we can to help support and include parents in their child’s educational journey, no matter how little or much time they get to spend with their kids in a day. Our after-school programs offer homework time and help with homework to help put your mind at ease knowing that your child is getting all the academic support they need. In today’s post our teachers want to take a minute to discuss some ways the working parent can help support their child’s academics

Inject reviews in everyday activities.

We get it, when you get home you are busy. Dinner to cook, baths to give, and the next day to prepare for. All before shooing the kids off to bed and handling your own business before calling it a night and doing it all again tomorrow. This routine can make it difficult to sit down and focus on studies. A fun way to encourage your kids’ learning is by injecting it in small doses during routine activities. For example, the dinner table is a good place to ask “what did you learn today?” When they tell you what they learned, ask questions. This helps them recall the information and when they teach the information, it helps them retain it better. When this becomes a routine part of their day, you may find the begin paying more attention so they can talk about the most interesting thing.

If your kids have spelling tests or are learning the math tables, ask them to spell words or do the problems as you cook or in the bath. The car ride home is a great place to have discussions about what they are learning. Simply showing interest in what they are learning helps motivate them to do better.

Learn with them.

We all heard it as kids — “look it up.” When we didn’t know the answer to something, undoubtedly our parents told us to look it up, under the guise that looking it up would help us learn and remember. But, we were all on to them. Not only did they want us to use the set of encyclopedias built into the coffee table that they knew was a waste of money, but they also didn’t know the answer and having us look it up was easier. Of course, this taught us the valuable lesson of searching out answers to our own problems, but it also taught us that our problems weren’t interesting or important enough to pay attention to. When your child asks a valid question that you don’t know the answer to, take the time to learn with them. With access to information at our fingertips, it shouldn’t take long and then both of you have learned something new. This can help with bonding and builds confidence in your child while showing them that it can be interesting to learn new things.

Plan family outings around their lesson plans.

Chicago is home to so many opportunities to explore and learn. While we aren’t suggesting you spend your weekend checking out the Museum of College Algebra (does that even exist? We sure hope not.), you can work some interesting things into your plans. For instance, spend the weekend at the zoo finding all the herbivores and omnivores. Check out the theater for a classic play, or visit the Field Museum to see some t-Rex bones! You don’t even have to spend money or a full day of it, there are so many education adventures to be had in our great city, and many great lesson plans to support.

At Just For Kids, we want to help the working parents of Chicago get the most out of their relationships with their kids. For all of your childcare needs, including after school programs. Contact us to schedule a tour or enroll your kids today.