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Tips for Third Grade Parents: What to Expect

written by: Kathy Foust • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 10/13/2014

Use these tips for third grade parents to prepare your child for the experience of being a third grader. Get a head start on what may be expected in this school year!

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    Leaving Second Grade Behind...

    Before delving into the tips for third grade, parents should understand what knowledge their child already possesses. In second grade, Chalkboard students began to put paragraphs together and may have even started to write cursive as they polished up their paragraphs. They may have been exposed to some limited social studies and history. Some second grade students didn't even have science classes. Math was an introduction to fractions, decimals and basic arithmetic. Students learned about long and short vowel sounds.

    This all laid the foundation for third grade. If your child struggled through those things, then you may want to review them so that they will be able to actually put this knowledge to use in third grade.

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    Intro to Third Grade

    As third grade gets underway for your youngster, follow these guidelines. These tips will help your child to develop independence and the ability to apply knowledge.

    • Do not give your child answers to questions. Instead, encourage them to find their own answers.
    • When students become stuck on a problem, walk them through it step by step. As you do this, ask them to describe the steps they use.
    • Math is going to be more challenging than ever before for your child. Take every opportunity to help them develop their skills. Some ways to do this are by having them assist you in measuring as you cook or frequently asking them what time it is. These are ways to help them learn to use measuring tools on an everyday basis. In fact, a great way to work with fractions is in the kitchen. If a recipe calls for one cup, break it down into 1/2 or 1/4 cups and ask the child to come up with the right amount.
    • Use money to practice with decimals. This is a great time to start your child on an allowance and teach them to budget by writing down their spending right down to the penny!
    • When your child is learning about history, watch fun historical movies with them to help develop their interest. Provide them with interesting facts about the people they are learning about, such as presidents of the United States. The History Channel is a great way to give your child visual stimulation regarding history. If possible, make a family movie night of it!
    • Be prepared for some attitude. Your child is entering the "tween" years, which can be very awkward. They aren't as big as the teenagers and they aren't as small as the kindergärtners. They will likely have some outbursts as they express their independence. You can deal with this by giving them the chance to earn their independence through goal setting and positive reinforcement.
    • Since your child is becoming more independent, it's time to start trusting their judgment a bit more. Give them some latitude to make their own decisions. Guide them, but allow them to make choices. As much as you want to protect them from harm, teaching them to have confidence in their own abilities and make the right choices is one of the best ways you can protect them.

    As the third-grade parent uses these tips, it's best to keep in mind that your child is too old for simple answers of yes and no. It's time for them to use their processing skills to reason out why things are the way they are. Be prepared to answer lots of "why" questions. Though it may be frustrating for you, this is a necessary part of their development. Have patience and relate to them by considering the times when you may want to ask your boss "why" or when you are trying to reason an issue with someone. This is a great time to help your child develop their communication skills.