Building a strong foundation for your child, organization, study and problem solving skills
Building a strong foundation for your child, organization, study and problem solving skills.
I decided to write about the importance of developing a strong foundation for student success. I’ve been teaching and tutoring students of all ages (3-21) for over twenty-five years. One of the basic skills that I’ve found most of my students are lacking is organizational skills. The other two skills that they have trouble with are study skills and problem solving skills. So why are these skills so important? Well, a student, who hasn’t fully developed these skills often doesn’t know where to start when completing an assignment such as homework, a project or essay. Additionally, I’ve found that the average parent, (including myself), experiences a lot of frustration when their child has been procrastinating or hasn’t started the assignment and it’s the night before it is due. Parents often have a difficult time in helping their child with homework or a project because the subject material and method of teaching it is so different than when they were in school. So how do we help these students and their parents?
Parents need to take a deep breath and try to relax. We’re all human and we don’t know everything. So where is a parent to begin in helping their child develop these skills?
The first thing is to start when your child is a toddler, help your young child to organize his/her toys and bedroom. Try to reinforce the importance of keeping things organized and explain that keeping everything in it’s right place makes it much easier to find it later. Have your toddler help you with matching socks or folding facecloths and clothes or have them help you develop a grocery list. Start off small and gradually progress to having your child help out with chores. Establish a daily routine by establishing a set time for completing homework, play time, dinner and sleep time. It’s important that you follow your routine everyday. Constant changes confuse the child and can lead to the child being overwhelmed.
What is a parent to do if their child is already in Elementary School, Middle School or High School? Where is the parent to begin? Think of the resources that you currently have, your child’s teacher, your parents, the child’s older siblings, your siblings and any other service provider that you may have (pediatrician, psychologist or psychiatrist). Ask these people for help, especially if you don’t know what the problem is or you don’t know where to begin. Try to relax. None of us were provided with a text book or manual on how to raise our children. Understand that this is an ongoing process with a lot of bumps in the road. Be positive and stay involved with your child.
Most of us have experienced the following: Your child comes home from school and you ask them how their day was. Their response is OK, I don’t know or it was horrible. Take their lead and ask more specific questions, like what did you learn in math, or what happened to make it a horrible day, etc. Ask if they need help with their homework. If they respond with a “no” Try to stay close by, so that if you notice that they seem to be daydreaming, are stuck or not accomplishing a whole lot, you can ask what the problem is. Often times, they’ll tell you that they either don’t understand the assignment or that they don’t know what to write or where to begin. That’s your opportunity to get involved and supply them with some help. You can explain the directions, by breaking them down into easily understood steps or by breaking the assignment into smaller, more manageable steps. Remember that you may need another person to get involved. Children often clash with their parents and another person can often be more objective and provide a different point of view.
There are numerous ways to help your child develop the above skills. But the most important things to remember are to stay positive, encourage your child by providing positive reinforcement, answer their questions as best as you can and when you can’t, remember to use your resources. Start with contacting your child’s teacher. Most teachers are more than willing to explain the material to you. As an other option, think about hiring a tutor or finding a study buddy. Go on-line to research a topic or problem, read parenting books and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Finally, send me an e-mail and I’ll do my best to help you out. Visit my profile and the other tutors’ blogs on WyzAnt. It’s amazing how much information is available.
Lesley University Graduate Specializing in Learning Difficulties