As a parent, you can play an important role in your child’s education, but what that looks like will evolve
over time and at different stages. You’re probably already planning to get involved at your kid’s school,
stay in touch with teachers, and help with homework where you can, but what about supporting
learning and education in other ways? The tips below can help.
College is so expensive now that parents often start thinking about how they’ll pay for it while their
children are still toddlers. It’s a good idea to start planning now, looking into whether an RESP, 529 plan or
other type of account would work best for your family. However, there are other options available
beyond using savings. When it’s time for your kid to actually go to college, you can take out a low-rate
Private Parent Loan. This can be a big help because it could mean they don’t have to take out any
student loans themselves and won’t be saddled with debt when they graduate.
From the time your child is a baby, you can model a world for them in which learning and curiosity arean integral part. Well before they start school, you can count and read with them, explore things in nature and listen to music. This can also help you to start getting a sense of how they learn and what they respond to.
Connect Learning to the World
Once your child does start school, talk about what they learn there, and find ways to connect it to their
daily life and things in the world. If you cook or grocery shop together, you can talk about the math of
measuring or spending money and budgeting. On walks, you can look at plants and insects and connect
this to their science lessons. Make sure that these are conversations, with the back-and-forth between the
two of you, and not one-sided lectures.
Keep in mind that there’s a big difference between supporting your child and doing their work for them.
Let them take responsibility for their own work, and give them the opportunity to see how good it feels
to accomplish something challenging, such as mastering a difficult concept. While you may be worried
about your child getting high grades, try to focus more on encouraging them to see learning as an
enriching experience than simply a matter of meeting a certain metric.
Give Them Down Time
As important as curiosity and learning are in life, no one can be on all the time. Beware of the
temptation to overschedule your child as you seek to make sure they have as many fulfilling experiences
as possible. Unstructured time that allows children to use their imagination or even get bored is also
invaluable. This unstructured time helps kids develop their own interests and resources. Ideally, try to
make some of the unstructured time screen-free; screens aren’t inherently bad, but they can consume a
disproportionate amount of your child’s attention if you don’t monitor usage.