After the holiday season, students tend to notice other children in school with their exciting new toys and technology, including cell phones. Your child may have asked you, “When is it my turn to get a cell phone?”

Smart phones can be an intimidating purchase, especially with the risks of unlimited internet access, cyberbullying, and too much screen time. How do you know when it’s the right time to give them a smart phone?

There are several topics to consider when your child wants a cell phone.

1. Your Child’s Awareness Matters

Sometimes it’s more about behavior than age. A 12-year-old who is responsible and aware is more likely to do well with a smart phone than a 14-year-old who does not complete tasks and loses belongings. Consider your child’s awareness –their ability to keep up with items, social cues, and understanding the consequences of their actions.

2. Talk About Screen Time

How well does your child follow rules? If you think they will respect screen time limits, good news, now may be a good time! Studies show that too much screen time can be a bad thing, and it is important to set a limit that works for your family. Smart phones, especially social media platforms, can be addicting. If there is a strong possibility your student reacts negatively to you telling them to put down the phone, wait a little longer, and then have a conversation with them explaining the importance of putting the phone down. If your child is respectful about tasks and rules you give them now, use that as an indicator to how they will react to screen time limits.

3. Consider Whether the Phone is a Need

Sure, your child wants a phone, but do they need it? Ask yourself these questions:

As your child becomes more independent, a smartphone will become more of a necessity. If you’re thinking they may not need it at this time, but your student enjoys playing games on apps, a tablet is a good alternative.

4. Start Out with an Older Model

If you’re unsure whether your student should have a new phone initially, start them out with an older model. This is good testing ground to see how they handle the responsibility. Take one of your older phones to your carrier and ask them to reactivate it or ask what older models they have available. You’ll save some money while you’re at it, too!

5. Try Middle School

While there’s no clear answer of “when,” middle school is a good place to start. Middle school calls for more responsibility, and students mature more during this time in their lives. Students start to take on extracurricular activities and spend time with friends outside of school and parent supervision.

Remember, not every family nor every child the same, and the timing is different for all! Consider these guidelines, talk it out, and you’ll make the right decision. Want extra help? Check out these resources for more tips on when to get your child a cell phone.

What parent doesn’t want the very best for their child? When thinking about our students succeeding in school, we often place that responsibility on a teacher. As parents, a lot of that responsibility falls onto our plate, as well! How can we make sure our students are well prepared for their time in the classroom? It all starts with a few steps at home.

Here are 6 ways to help your child succeed in school!

1. Show your child how to use a daily planner

First things first, they need to be organized to succeed! Let your child pick out their own planner, and sit down together to help them schedule tests and assignments. To give them an example, bring out your planner to show them how you keep things organized. By encouraging them to keep their planner within arm’s reach, they can write down important dates as soon as they get them.

2. Check your child’s assignment book or homework folder regularly

You don’t have to micromanage, but checking your student’s folder with assignments will help you gauge if they are on task or not. Let them know you will check it regularly, so it does not seem as if you don’t trust them. To make this more of a team effort, assign a place for your student to put papers they need you to sign. Putting graded papers together will help you see progress or any changes in your child’s work.

3. Teach your student how to break big assignments into chunks

Tests and projects can be overwhelming. Sometimes, we just need a break! Teach your child how to break up their workload. Have them study for 30 minutes, and then set a timer for a 15-minute breather. Working on a big assignment? Have them work for 45 minutes and take another 45 to clear their head. Showing your student how to analyze and organize their studying and projects into parts will allow them to break it up in a way that connects. Encourage them to start studying a week or two early, by just looking at a little content each day.

4. Have similar expectations as your student’s school for consistency

Sit down with your child and have a refresher conversation on your expectations around missing assignments, late work, failed tests, and other topics. Make sure your student knows their school’s policy for these situations, too. Let them know that these consequences are in the student’s best interests, and to help them have a great school year. Consistency is key. If your consequences and expectations match the school’s, following these rules will become second nature to your child.

5. Make learning a year-round thing

The learning doesn’t have to stop when summer comes – encourage learning activities such as crafts, STEM challenges, museum visits, and more. Summer camps are great, as well. They’ll stay sharp on their academic skills, and have a great time doing it!

6. Make time to talk every day

Last but not least, talk to your child! It seems like a no brainer, but the more genuine questions you ask about school, the more they’ll realize you care about their academic lives. When encouraged daily, school will become important to your student, and they are more likely to take their work seriously.

Success is attainable for your student – especially with a little help from you! For more tips and tricks, check out this website.

Thinking afterschool is the key to success? The Quest Zone can help with that. With STEM activities, digital literacy, NFL Play 60 and more, your child is sure to shine in the classroom. Visit our website for more information!