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Many parents are worried about school and how their children will perform. That is understandable, but we must keep in mind that school is supposed to also be an enjoyable experience if we want them to have interest in further education. Here are top five ways to help your child succeed in school without putting unnecessary pressure on them:
1. Show a love for learning
Children often take up habits they see in their household. You probably think of eating habits or personal hygiene, but learning is affected just as much as any other aspect. It is important that your child notices your love for reading and exploring. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a physics journal or expressionist poetry, whether it’s going to museums or to science fairs. As long as you show genuine interest in learning, they will pick it up in some form. Starting from a young age, this can awake curiosity in your child, which will in return help master the topics learnt in school.
2. Let them do their own work
Many parents want their child to get the best grade possible so, when checking their homework, they ‘improve’ passages. This is one of the most inefficient ways to guide your child through school. Through conversation, you can suggest possible ways to form an argument, but let them write it. Or if you are helping with studying and they respond incorrectly to a closed question, ask them to go through the reading once again and find the right answer. The bottom line is, it has to be their work because only in that way they can learn. Your homework might get them a good grade now but, as time goes by, it will result only in problems – they will lack the knowledge they should have previously obtained. Moreover, feeling like they always need their parent to correct the homework can seriously hurt their self-confidence.
3. Support them in the areas they like, not the ones you prefer
You might be a maths person, but your child prefers art – and that’s fine. Don’t force your areas of interest onto someone who is trying to find their own, and never refer to a subject they like as unimportant. Support whatever they are interested in at that point. It might end up being their true passion, but if not it will still widen their horizons. Their interests will probably vary as they grow, but a cheap way to support them all is to bring them books from the library.
4. Active learning
Do as many projects with them as you possibly can. They are learning to read? Let them read the recipe to you while you bake a cake. Maths? Let them add the prices when you buy groceries. There are also tons of examples of ways in which you can actively practice what they are learning in school. The more real life examples you give them of certain knowledge being useful, the more motivated they will be to learn. Moreover, most of those projects include spending some real quality time with your child – definitely much better than spending it in front of a TV or even a course book.
5. Be interested in them, not their friends
‘What did rest of the class get?’ is the question every child hates. And after enough times of being unfavourably compared, they will start resenting discussions about school. When asking about test results, relate them to your child’s previous results rather than what other students got. If your kid has improved, praise them; if they didn’t do as well as usual, ask them what happened. Maybe there was some noise that was making it hard to concentrate, or maybe the unit in question was extra hard and they need a private tutor. It once happened to me that I forgot to eat breakfast and was so hungry that I could barely finish the test on time. If you show honest interest in their progress without judgement, they will tell you how things are working out and how to help them.
Annabelle Fee is part of the Content and Community team at SmileTutor, sharing valuable content to their own community and beyond.