10 Ways to Help Your Child Perform Better in School
We speak to Singaporean child education experts about straightforward and encouraging methods to help your child who may be under-performing at school.
Do you feel that something is amiss with your child's performance in school? And more importantly, is there anything you can do about it?
Alan Yip -- the founder and peak performance coach of MINDEDGE -- shares with you 10 ways to help your child perform better in school.
1. Find out what's going wrong
One major source of poor performance is the feeling of discouragement experienced by a child.
He may feel that, no matter what he does, no matter how hard he tries, he is bound to fail or never be good enough to gain either his teacher’s or his parents’ approval.
Here are some things to keep in mind to help your child perform better in school:
- Assess which subjects seem to be the ones that your child needs help with. You can also ask your child how he thinks he is doing in school in these subjects and use “active listening” with a patient and nurturing attitude.
- Examine other factors that may have contributed to the poor results. For instance, poor study tactics, poor memory, poor concentration, non-conducive study environment or unhappiness all contribute to poor performance in studies.
- If he has had tutoring for quite some time (months and years) but has not been producing significant improvement, the areas to examine are his attitude towards learning and his study habits.
- Constantly work with your child to find out what's going on -- if he is happy with his tutor, whether he is facing any physical discomfort (could be having headaches due to eyesight problems) and other possibilities.
Parents get frustrated when their child does not produce results after investing time, money and effort in sending him to enrichment and tuition programs.
But often they also overlook the fact that the child may simply lack the know-how to study, in which case he might be simply going through the motion of endless tuition sessions without really benefiting in a way that works for him.
2. Avoid labelling
Have you unknowingly labelled your child with negative tags which were perhaps meant to spur him on to work harder?
No matter how well-intentioned, calling a child "stupid" or "lazy" repeatedly cause him to start believing this and thus, he will give up or not bother to put in any effort.
Here are some other commonly used labels that only serve to reinforce the negative behaviours associated with such traits:
- “She is a slow learner”
- “She is shy”
- “She always fails Chinese”
- “What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you get better results?”
- “You are useless”
The irony in this psychology is that in using a negative label such as “shy”, parents are actually motivating their child to be shy.
3. Avoid comparisons
It's best to avoid making comparisons when it comes to children. Each child is different and has his or her own distinctive strengths and weaknesses.
The child should also be reassured that his parents acknowledge and accept both his strengths and weaknesses.
4. Encourage and nurture
Help your child try. Your child trying his hardest is already an achievement and is a positive habit that must be developed and reinforced. Reassure your child that the harder she tries, the easier it will get, and the better her results will be.
Also, tap into her strong points. Show faith and belief in your child no matter what, and make sure you point out what areas he/she excels in.
They may not produce fantastic academic results, but show your children that you still appreciate their good behaviour, creativity and any other positive trait.
5. Equip your child with correct learning methods
Evaluating how your child learns will help you better understand why he has not performed well in the past.
Identify gaps in the child’s learning and knowledge and find out how these gaps came about. Perhaps the child is not using the right techniques to study.
Help him find the element of “fun” in learning and re-ignite his interest in his schoolwork. Teach him to set goals, measure his progress, and celebrate each small success together.
Choose a learning enrichment programme which can help your child build strong self-esteem, offering maximum personal attention (in a small class set of not more than 10 children), academic coaching, freedom and encouragement for students to express openly and participate actively.
6. Do not look for quick fixes
Any kind of improvement in your child, whether academic or otherwise, will take time. Be patient, masterpieces aren't made overnight.
Lay the foundation for long-term, sustainable results and help your child build success habits and a positive mindset for life-long learning that will help him not just in school, but later in life as well.
7. Establish relevance
In a caring and non-judgmental fashion, discuss with your child what his aspirations are. For example, ask him which secondary school, junior college or university he wants to attend.
This will help to reinforce the importance and relevance of studying hard and getting good grades so that he can achieve his goals.
Intensify his desire by placing his written goals and pictures of his choice school or inspirations at a place where he can see them – all the time.
8. Rhythmic review
Your child must start preparing for tests and exams early on to leverage on the effect of locking in information in his memory effectively.
Get your child to do a quick review of the key points on a new topic or a revision topic in one hour, then one day, one week, one month and six months. This will reinforce the knowledge he has learnt because he is required to repeatedly access it.
9 Study with friends
Encourage your child to form a study group with keen and motivated students.
Such positive peer influence and pressure will prompt your child to work harder and stay focused on his goals. In turn, this will help your child perform better in school.
10. Believe and achieve
For your child to improve his academic performance or become a top student, the first essential step is for him to believe that he can do it.
Similarly, you must believe in your child by showing your full faith in him and total support for his efforts to improve.
For more about Alan Yip and MINDEDGE, click here.
Meanwhile, here is what experienced tutor from Epigami, Benjamin Yang, has to say about how you can help your child perform better at school:
"Parents do play an important role and definitely can contribute to kids performing better in school. They can do so by assessing whether their kids need extra help and thereafter selectively opt for programs that can augment the kids academically.
They can also make sure that there is a conducive environment at home for learning as well as suitable nutrition (sufficient brain food or vitamins).
That said, there are also things that parents can avoid doing as well to allow kids to perform better, such as avoiding using excessive pressure or having unrealistic expectations, and using very harsh regimes and punitive measures leading up to the exams."
For more information on Epigami, click here.
How do you help your child perform better at school? Share your tips with us by leaving a comment.