Your support as a parent is crucial in helping your child succeed academically in school. And fret not - this does not mean you have to go back to school too! But the mental disposition your child shows up at school with could have a direct impact on his/her performance. If not already inherent, this can be nurtured in your child.
We have put together a few suggestions you can adopt to help you help your child.
This one goes without saying. You do need to be involved and interested in what your child is doing at school. This is not just in the academic areas but also in other areas, which are just as important. Why so….? This is because the other areas may have an impact on the way your child performs academically. We mentioned the mental disposition earlier, well if your child comes into school with something weighing heavily on his/her mind as a result of something that happened earlier in the week, etc this could definitely play a part in the way your child performs in any of the subjects on the day.
Children will at times show signs of lack of motivation. If we are always involved, we will be able to pick these signs up quite quickly and address them. This is important as they could be misinterpreted to mean something else – irresponsibility, laziness, etc. This might, in reality, be a case of anxiety due to not being able to tackle a particular topic/concept – something they might not be able to particularly articulate to you properly.
The key will be in how you handle such situations. Be sure not to overreact. Try to get to the bottom of the matter and help carve out a better structure to help your child. This will most definitely go a long way in helping to make your child less anxious.
Plan a structure
You don’t need to wait until your child’s grades drop before you weigh in on his/ her activities. At this point, it might be safe to say there might be a high level of anxiety for all the parties involved. It could prove to be quite challenging to come to a productive outcome under such circumstances. The moral of that scenario would be not to wait until it gets to that point.
As previously mentioned, if you are involved from the onset, such a scenario might be avoided, or possibly recognized in time. It is also less challenging to put a structure in place when there is less stress and anxiety involved.
Creating structure will be challenging for most children, even when it is done for them. It would be an idea to gradually introduce mini practices into your child’s schedule and top up once they are able to manage the ones introduced.
Examples of what the structure might include are scheduled study times, keeping the computer out of the bedroom, and in a public place in your home. Enforcing rules like homework before playing any computer games, dedicating a certain (mandatory) number of hours to quality study time – not just racking up the hours.
In order for it not to come across as a chore (which it might do anyway…. lol), find out what could make things more favourable (within reason) during study time. Some children may like a bit of music in the background while they study. This shouldn’t be a problem as long as it doesn’t distract them and has nothing to do with their phones if they are of that age. If this does prove to be more counterproductive than helpful, then have the chat and let them know it will have to wait until after study time.
As long your child understands that this structure is not a punishment. But as a way to help him/her develop a good work habit and enhance their focus on their school subjects.
Teach your child to be organised
Being organised can help us all stay focused. This is no different in children. This skill could keep them from getting distracted. This does not have to be anything that major. But small practices like having a small notebook for useful ideas learned that could come in handy later, or a folder to collate projects, homework, etc.
Things like personal planners and to-do lists can come in handy for your child as these will help to bring more structure to their routine.
Of course, it is one thing telling (and helping them) to set one up, but it might be more of a challenge for them to maintain these habits. This is where you would need to come in – to monitor the process and practice.
Be supportive, firm and consistent
There is a saying, that you have to sometimes be cruel to be kind. This might be adjusted to say – you have to be firm to be kind. As already mentioned, there does need to be a form of structure in place for the process to be effective. In as much as you want to be as supportive as possible, you also need to add a bit of firmness into the mix. This will become the case at times as you will have to enforce certain aspects of the process from time to time.
This is an arrangement between you and your child and it would be up to you both to keep your ends of the arrangement. Consistency will be the key here. This will also let your child know that through this process, it is possible to achieve success.
There is also the small matter of consequences, should there be a breach in the arrangement. This of course should be discussed beforehand, so your child won’t feel victimised when the time comes. This is where consistency will also come into play, as you will need to be firm and consistent when it comes to enforcing this side of the arrangement.
Of course, there are other suggestions that could be added to this list but the main ideas are what we have listed.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you are dealing with your child and not all the other children. This means you begin from where your child is. Understand your child’s situation and level and begin from there. Break your overall strategy with your child, into smaller plans so as not to overwhelm him/ her.
It is safe to say that there may be some degree of resistance at first and depending on your child, the process might take a while before you begin to see a favourable outcome. But consistency and patience will be the key.
At Leaders are Readers, we aim to develop in children curiosity and courage to find/discover information for themselves, instead of 'spoon-feeding'. This promotes independent learners who can go on to be leaders.
For more info on how we can help your child, click on the link below:
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