New Year's Resolutions: Put Your Child on the Path to Earning Better Grades


Do you ever consider that what you do directly influences how successful your children will be in school? Kids don’t have to be geniuses to earn As and Bs on their report cards. This is an absolute myth. However, you do have to instill in them a willingness to work hard and a desire to do their best in order for them to be rewarded with top grades. Since it’s the start of a new year and the traditional time to make resolutions, why not choose to make one or more of the following resolutions. This will ensure that your children are truly on the path to making the Honor Roll each grading period. Resolve to:


• Praise your children for making an effort to do well in school.

• Communicate the importance of education.

• Establish the homework habit.

• Encourage your children to talk about school each day.

• Eat dinner with your children every night.

• Monitor the type and amount of TV your children watch.

• Limit the time your children spend using electronic gadgetry.

• Stress the importance of good school attendance.

• Limit the number of extracurricular activities in which your children participate.

• Work closely with your children’s teachers.

• Help your children learn organizational skills.

• Teach your children how to set and accomplish realistic long- 

and short-term goals.

• Help your children learn more about the world.

• Take your children to museums and historical sights.

• Encourage your children to read as much as they can.

• Avoid homework battles by using a homework contract.

• Express enthusiasm about how much they are learning in school.



Brain Freeze


My 10-year-old son freezes up whenever he has to take a test. The teacher offers him more time, but it doesn’t help. It just gives him more time to be panicked. Is there anything that can I do to help him overcome test anxiety? – Anxious Annie


The best way for children in elementary school to feel confident before taking a test is simply to keep up with their work and make sure they understand what is being studied. Reviewing sufficiently is another one of the big secrets to facing tests with confidence – not  panic. Your son needs to review every evening. In fact, over-learning material is one way to reduce test anxiety.

Another helpful hint in avoiding test anxiety is knowing what will be on the test. Teachers usually review for tests. During the review period, teach your son to write down and underline anything the teacher identifies with “You really need to know this!” He should also complete and review all study guides that the teacher uses in class.

Some anxious students find it helpful to make up tests from study guides and chapter questions to practice taking a test so they realize that they know the material. These techniques should be helpful unless your son’s problem is really one of an inability to learn the material.

Want to learn more? Send your questions and comments to or ask them on the columnists’ Web site at

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