I want to ask you a question…
How often in a week does your child experience success?
At the moment we are in unusual times! Many of us parents continue to have our children at home and we are trying to be teachers as well as parents.
I have had lots of calls with parents in the last few weeks anxious about their child’s progress and trying really hard to work with their children to get them to make progress. Many of them are finding relationships are breaking down and learning is increasingly becoming a battle and negative downward spiral!
The problem is the roles of teacher and parent are VERY different. Our usual role as parents is confidence booster and this is being side-lined and blurred by the fact we are under pressure to make sure our children complete their school work and our focus, rather than allowing our children to feel good and to experience success is to multi task and attempt to get them to make academic progress … the thing our dyslexics find most challenging!
To make it worse most of the work being set at the moment is worksheets, 2 dimensional learning and is not engaging or hands on enough for our practical hands on learners. This is no ones fault, it is not about apportioning blame, it is simply a result of the current situation.
If you are getting endless battles and disengaged children or teenagers, ask yourself these questions!
When was the last time my child experienced success at ANYTHING, even the thing they are good at.
How many times a day is your child experiencing success?
How many times a day is your child failing or are things challenging?
If they are not experiencing much or in fact ANY success a day my advice is you need to flip it!
Find the things they are good at what ever that is, playing an instrument, making junk models, building things from wood, or out of lego. Maybe its sport, running, dancing or gymnastics, or art.
Then go out of your way to put them in front of it as many times as you can… before you approach the school work!
Get them to set a time and to beat themselves if it’s a sporting activity. Get them to paint pictures for family members if its Art. Video them with their instrument before and after practice so they can see themselves improving.
DO all you can to ensure they experience success with the thing they love and allow them to see the progress they make…
Because here is the GAME CHANGER!
As they do this thing they love, point out and show them the skills they are using to develop and improve at the thing they love!
Resilience, practice, problem solving, analysing, using YouTube or tutorials, asking questions or for help, being determined to succeed… explicitly point out these amazing skills and next time they struggle with some academic work remind them of these skills they have developed and used, then see if any of them can be applied to their current task… they probably don’t realise the amazing skills they have until we point them out and they most likely do not know how to transfer them across to things they find challenging!
YES we need to do the school work, but before we can do the school work we have to build them up and make them feel great about themselves so they can tackle the school work!
You wouldn’t climb a mountain without the appropriate skills and equipment.
Learning is NO Different! we need to develop positive learning behaviors and skills and understand HOW we learn to be able to become independent learners. we need to experience some success. if all we experience is failure as humans we will just give up and out self esteem will become lower and lower and become a secondary barrier to learning.
So quit the battles and look for the positives… create the positives… make them shine at the thing they love and this will help them access the more challenging things.