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How to Embrace the Big Picture and Avoid Getting Caught up in Day-to-Day Struggles
Tips from Teachers
Insights and Ideas from Smart Love teachers and tutors on how to help your children have a successful school year!
Engage with Your Child: Involve your child in conversations about how to overcome challenges and create a supportive environment together. Give your child agency by offering choices; they can be as small as asking what kind of snack they would like after school or figuring out which homework assignment to prioritize. When children feel like they have a say in decisions, it gives them a sense of control and helps to reduce power struggles.
Pivot to Positives: Parents can feel the need to focus on their child's struggles. This can cause children to feel worse because they perceive their parents as primarily concerned with their challenges rather than what they are capable of. When parents acknowledge their child's strengths and accomplishments, no matter how small, it helps to build confidence and motivation. So, instead of saying, "That homework shouldn't take you so long to do," try focusing on where they succeeded, like, "It's great that you were able to persevere with your homework, even though it may have taken a little longer than you had hoped." If your child is struggling to start their work, avoid punitive conditional statements like, "If you don't finish your homework, you can't play video games." Instead, try phrasing it positively, utilizing your relationship, such as "When you finish your homework, we can enjoy playing video games together."
Create a Haven at Home: Throughout their school day, children can feel a lot of pressure from peers and teachers as they have many expectations and rules to abide by. Try to keep your home environment as a refuge, providing a safe space where your child can relax and be themselves. This will help them recharge and get ready for another school day while also strengthening your relationship with your child.
Expect & Embrace Mistakes: Remember that children need time to master all skills, not just reading, writing, and arithmetic. When children make mistakes, like forgetting their notebook at home or leaving their backpack at school, try to keep things in perspective before responding. Ask yourself, "Is this something that my child needs to worry about? Or is this a common and harmless mistake?" If your child shares these kinds of mistakes with you, acknowledge and move on. Respond with statements like, "I'm sorry you forgot your homework at school. It’s hard when that happens." Alternatively, a negative reaction from parents can exacerbate the situation and cause unnecessary stress for your child. If your child repeatedly forgets something, try working together to think of ideas that may help them remember, such as tying a ribbon on their backpack or preparing their schoolwork at night so it's ready in the morning. If your child continues to struggle, check in to see if something else is bothering them.
Tune into Your Child's Emotions: Stay connected with your child's feelings about their learning process, specific subjects, their teacher, or school in general. By welcoming all of their emotions surrounding education, children are better able to overcome hurdles that may hinder their learning. In this way, you can cultivate a positive and supportive atmosphere at home, enhancing your child's overall well-being and fostering a healthy attitude towards learning.
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