Parents of school aged children ask me, “What can I do? My child needs help with his school work but won’t work with me. He won’t let me help!”
Some children need extra help to understand something at school, parents want to help, but the child refuses the support. It is hard to start a successful habit of working together if you’ve waited until your child is actually struggling and needs help. The child may have already started to put up barriers, their emotions are involved, and they can become negative about doing any school work with a parent.
With a school aged child you can start with a fun activity unrelated to school work, and definitely nothing to do with the subject they’re struggling with. Start with small projects – cooking, painting, drawing, sewing, knitting, etc. Spend time completing the activities together. As your child gets used to spending ten to fifteen minutes a day on a project you can start to introduce some academic related work. Your child may protest or be reluctant at first but stick with it. By showing patience and understanding it will eventually become an expected activity. At this point you can start supporting them in their school work, solidifying ideas and strategies and giving guidance in areas of work they find most challenging. The important part is starting the habit of working together and then continuing it regularly.
With a younger child you can get into the habit of working together in a fun and relaxed way every day. Your child will become comfortable completing daily activities with you. ‘Work’ does not mean filling out worksheets, working through piles of flashcards, or teaching memory based concepts. It is a term used for doing activities together.
During the work time you can complete practical activities to build their independence, fine motor, and confidence. You can also teach foundational language and math skills.
Starting before kindergarten makes it a natural progression to continue the work as they move through primary school.
Why should you work with your child? Because you are your child’s first teacher. With some direction and guidance you can prepare your child for starting school and continue to build on their learning in the classroom.
Take a look at our website for the book Teaching Parents How To Teach:
The resources section has free videos of various everyday activities to practice with your child.