5 Ways You Can Help Your Child Succeed in First Grade


Encourage Trying

Confidence and risks help make an independent student.
Confidence and risks help make an independent student.
Blend Images/Ariel Skelley/the Agency Collection/Getty Images

First grade isn't just about reading and writing and math; it's also about self-sufficiency. At this stage in development, children are learning what they're capable of: that they can think and act independently, take care of their own needs and wants, and make decisions about what they do and how they do it.

Your child is doing and thinking for him- or herself every day at school, and it's important to continue the theme at home. The more you encourage independence, including taking risks and learning from mistakes, the more confident and capable he or she will be at school, where, most likely, the teacher is expecting a higher degree of self-reliance than your child has experienced before.

Whenever a safe opportunity arises, let your child act independently. If there's a new task to accomplish, wait as long as possible before stepping in to help, and always reward the effort, not just the success. Reinforcing the "You can do it" approach at home will help your child be more comfortable with his or her new responsibilities at school.

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