>> Aug 6, 2013
You need to start them when they are young. As soon as they are old enough to go to preschool you need to start thinking about extracurricular activities: Swimming, karate, tennis, foreign languages, anything. The younger you start them, then the bigger are the chances that they will excel in later life.
Expose your child to competition
Just because your five year old wants to be a karate champion does not mean that he/she will not want to be a tennis champion later in life. This is not a bad thing, as they should be able to choose the extracurricular options that they most enjoy. Your job is to introduce your child to more than just book studies and the TV.
A good way of building up their abilities is to introduce them to competition at an early age. This is why extracurricular activities are so important. They teach the child that they can excel if they practice, and this is a lesson that will serve them well in later life. Do not encourage a “Win at all costs” attitude, but do show them that giving their full effort has its rewards.
What to do when they are a little older
Hopefully, you have now raised a child that wants to do more than watch TV with their spare time, so now it is time to concentrate on academics. Always be rewarding and accommodating when your child excels at any academic subject. If they are having problems, then try to help them yourself or pay for extra help.
Encourage a will to learn and show the child that the things they are learning will help them in later life. Also, try to expose them to the way their life may turn out if they ignore their studies.
Do not persecute your child
You are trying to groom your child for a place at a good college, but your child may struggle at school. You need to recognize the signs, because your easily distracted or disruptive child is probably acting that way because he/she cannot keep up with the rest of the class. He/she may feel silly or stupid when they try to keep up, and so will get into trouble as an excuse for their poor performance. Always consider multiple reasons for their actions before you jump to solutions or punishments.
Help them manifest a dream
They need to think about their future and what they want to be when they are older. The child that gets to college age and does not know which course to take is the one who either fails to get into a good college, or drops out half way through.
The problem is that most people do not know their options. Even you do not know all the jobs that a person may potentially get. So, you and your child need to go on a fact finding mission to discover all the interesting jobs there are available in the world. Once you find one that your child enjoys, you will see their motivation to get into college rise.
Always answer calls for help
You may not be able to help your child with his or her studies, but that does not mean you cannot find help out there. You may have a skilled family member or friend you can encourage to help. You could even pay for extra tutors if you have the money. But, do not fall for the cries of a lazy child. Never do the child’s work for them, as they will abuse the privilege and keep asking for help in order to avoid doing the work themselves.
Learn the college entry protocol and help your child
They may not ask for your help and may have figured it all out themselves, but even in this case you should learn the entry protocol for yourself. Discuss entry into college with your child. Explain that you have also looked into how to gain entry and try to collaborate with the child. Show that you are not being pushy, but that you are there for support. Make it appear as if you are not really helping them, but that you are on their team.
Do not judge the choices your child makes
You may want your child to join Princeton to study business and economics, but if your child wants to attend a polytechnic in order to study needlework then you have to live with it. If the child senses any resistance at your end then you will be cut out of the whole process. They will do what they want, and they will do it with or without your approval.
Live with the choices your child makes, and help them if they change their mind. Remember that you are on their side no matter what, which means you do not tell them what choices to make or try to change their mind.
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