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Setting a culture of high expectations for kids

Parents who create a culture of high expectations and engage in their kids’ education have children that are a lot more likely to be successful, happy and productive adults.

“It turns out it’s not the number of bake sales we sign up for, it’s not the number of volunteer hours, it’s not all the fundraising we do. The most important thing a parent can do is create the high expectations culture at home,” said Pearl Chang Esau, president and CEO of Expect More Arizona.

Parents should be actively engaged in their child’s education, she said.

“You’re talking to them about their education journey, you’re setting goals with them on places where they need to be challenged more or places where they need to improve,” Esau said.

That means talking to children about their futures.

“What are their goals? What are their interests? What passions that they have do they want to pursue and you’re actively supporting them?” Esau said.

The most important things parents can do is encourage intrinsic motivation and effort.

“So it’s not actually about all the accomplishments, or fitting in every kind of extracurricular activity into your busy schedule,” Esau said.

It’s more about supporting a child’s interests and passions, and then praising their curiosity and effort while encouraging them to ask questions.

“Because you want them to become lifelong learners,” Esau said. “That’s how they’re going to become successful productive adults throughout the rest of their life.”

Regardless of their child’s age, starting to set those high expectations begins with getting in tune with a child’s teachers. Continuing to build that relationship throughout the school year is key.

“Asking what the expectations are for your child,” Esau said. “And then working as a partner with the teacher to help your child meet those expectations.”

Esau adds to check in periodically with the teacher to get feedback and then ask how to help at home.

“Learning happens everywhere, when you go on vacation, to the zoo or the supermarket,” she said. “Learning is truly an experience you can have at any location and we encourage parents to engage their child in discussions and asking questions and talking about the environment that’s around them.”

Expect More Arizona has resources to help understand what milestones your child should be hitting here.

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