How to help your daughter succeed in school

How to help your daughter succeed in school

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Girls tend to outshine boys in early grades. Unfortunately, their success doesn't always carry through to middle school and beyond.

Social pressures mount as girls get older, and boys become both distractions and competitors in the classroom. Too many girls start falling behind after grade school because they lose confidence in themselves and lose sight of their priorities. In other words, they start to believe that their social ranking matters more than their academic standing.

The good news is, you can use the early grade-school years to give your daughter the strongest start for the years ahead – you just have to help her tap into her girl power.

1. Keep her challenged.

If your little girl is breezing through her school year, congratulations to you both. Just don't let all those gold stars breed complacency. "It's easy for a girl to think 'I'm successful now, and I'll always be successful,'" says Margaret King, an early childhood education specialist at Ohio University.

If you think your daughter is coasting instead of really learning, try challenging her with more advanced books or more difficult math problems than she gets at school. She'll realize that she doesn't "know it all," and it'll help keep her mind sharp for the tougher work ahead.

2. Cultivate an interest in science.

This is one area where girls' performance still falls behind boys', largely because girls don’t get enough encouragement from parents or teachers.

So go the extra mile to intrigue your daughter. Take her out to the country on a clear, moonless night for some sky gazing and tell her that scientists are always learning more and more of the stars' secrets. It might pique her interest in science if you teach her how to use a microscope or a simple circuit set.

3. Don't pigeonhole her strengths.

Think all girls are bad at math? Think again: A recent National Institutes of Health study found that when it came to handling numbers, boys and girls are equally matched.

If you jump to gender-based assumptions, you may make her believe – without meaning to – that math isn't her thing. Instead, watch your daughter. You may find that she's a whiz at fractions who needs a little help with her reading.

4. Give her a boost when she needs it.

If your daughter is struggling in a subject, it's time to get more involved: Read with her often, talk with her teacher to identify problem areas, help her understand her homework (without doing it for her), and encourage her progress at every step.

As much as you love your daughter, don't automatically blame the problem on the teacher. If your child is having trouble, getting defensive won't do her any good.

5. Show her that education matters.

Make sure your daughter knows that you appreciate her intellect and her effort. Point out women who are doing interesting, amazing things – and keep pointing them out through her whole childhood.

As social pressures begin to mount, many girls ratchet down their academic effort. Make sure your daughter knows that her academic success is important to you – and to her.

Watch the video: How to Help Your Child with Back to School Anxiety (May 2022).