1. Give your child time to absorb the environment
If your child is struggling with a Math problem, an English essay or even a flat tire on their bike, stepping straight in to save the day can actually throw cold water on their learning process. Kids at every age – even toddlers want to have a go on their own. They feel a lot of pride in working through a challenge, and they can get a bit grumpy with meddling parents.
Of course, if your child is floundering or in physical danger, you know it’s right to step in. But when it comes to their learning,‘a guide by their side’, is necessary. This is all about helping them develop habits which will make them enjoy learning, and do it really well. Like curiosity, adventurousness and creative thinking – tools which will help them push through tricky challenges and enjoy finding new solutions.
2. Opt positive words
How you talk about ‘success’ and ‘failure’ shapes the way your teen sees challenges. This is a tricky one.In school, they might have picked up the idea that getting the right answer straight away is what really counts, but you can help shift how they think about mistakes at home. If you make friends with mistakes by openly speaking about them, and pointing them out yourself.
When we’re choosing our words,you need to point out that it’s best not to repeatedly tell your child how ‘smart’ and ‘bright’ they are.‘Smart’ can become part of the way your teen sees themselves, and if anything too challenging comes along,they can panic and feel like they’ve let themselves down. We don’t want challenges to threaten children, but to spark their interest.
3. Make a habit of asking lots of questions
Curiosity is a powerful mind habit. Being curious means that you’re willing to take risks with your imagination when you’re met with challenges.
As a parent, you can encourage curiosity in your child at home.Writing questions out and posting them on the fridge or on a noticeboard where they’re nice and visible, and then try to work them out together. But also collecting questions without solving them straight away shifts the focus of learning from ‘how can I get a quick answer so my homework is DONE’ to ‘ooh this is an interesting problem to work out.’
4. Don’t put them in a box
The world that we’re living in now is teeming with possibilities and it’s a good idea to let children explore the full range of what’s on offer. ‘It’s best that parents learn to live with that, instead of thinking it’s problematic.’
5. Find support
As a parent, you can’t be an expert on absolutely everything. Whether it’s an older sibling, a family friend, a tutor mentor who’s close in age, or a friendly neighbor -it’s great to reach out to others for support when you’re not sure how to help your child.
That having someone more neutral involved can take the charge out of a tough challenge. ‘The last thing we want is to add to children’s stress with our own.’ Being a ‘guide by their side’ is all about giving teens the right resources so that they can smash it.
6. Build out from their strengths
Every child is good at something, whether it’s skateboarding, playing football or looking after their cat. They’re more willing to take risks in places where they already feel confident. If being a powerful learner is about practicing certain mind habits– like creative thinking, adventurousness and asking loads of questions- then you can use your child’s passion as a channel for nourishing a strong mindset.
At every stage in your child’s life, it can feel like there’s something new to worry about. You might worry that they won’t fit in at school, or that they’ll have a hard time finding a career that’ll set them up for a happy future. Your concerns can feel daunting, but the thing to remember is that you’re not alone. We’ve been talking to parents across the myTutoring community about their top worries when it comes to their children and how they manage them. Let’s dive in.