The most important thing to remember when helping your child with his science fair project is to not do your child’s project for him! Allow your child to make mistakes and present a less-than-perfect project is okay. Mistakes are part of science and need to be seen as part of the process. Helping your child come up with ideas or assisting with experiments is fine. However, stepping in doing the work for your child is not only cheating it robs your child of the experience of doing the project by himself.
Science fairs can be stressful on a child. Your child may not have an aptitude for science or may have an interest but lack self-confidence in his ability to have a successful project. It is your job as the parent to encourage your child and to help him have a positive experience with his science fair project. Be positive about your child’s work. Do not expect your fifth grader to have as in-depth or sophisticated of a project as a high school student.
Be honest. If you do not know the answer, tell your child. Maybe you can look up the answer together. Look around for ideas. Check the library, look for online science fair resources, take a walk outside and observe nature for ideas. Ask your child to observe and think of things he might want to learn more about. He may surprise you both with what he can come up with simply by observing and wondering.
Give your child adequate time to work on his project. Encourage your child to get started right away and continue working on his project early. Completing a science fair project long before the due date will ensure a well thought out and well presented project. Rushing to complete a project at the last minute can result in undue stress with sloppy presentation and incomplete results.