How do I help my child who is struggling with studies?
As a parent, your presence in the academic life of your child is crucial to her commitment to work. Do homework with her, and let her know that you’re available to answer questions. Get in the habit of asking her about what she learned in school, and generally engage her academically. By demonstrating your interest in your child’s school life, you’re showing her school can be exciting and interesting. This is especially effective with young kids who tend to be excited about whatever you’re excited about. Teenagers can bristle if they feel you are asking too many questions, so make sure you are sharing the details of your day, too. A conversation is always better than an interrogation.
Likewise, it’s important to stay involved but give older kids a little more space. If you’re on top of your daughter all the time about homework, she may develop resistance and be less motivated to work—not to mention the strain it will put on your relationship.
Many parents are nervous about rewarding kids for good work, and it’s true that tangible rewards can turn into a slippery slope. But there are ways to use extrinsic motivation that will eventually be internalized by your kid. “Kids respond really well to social reinforcers like praises, hugs, high fives, and those kinds of things,” says Laura Phillips, a neuropsychologist at the Child Mind Institute. “Then they start to achieve because it feels good for them.”
Ken Schuster, a neuropsychologist at the Child Mind Institute encourages parents to use rewarding activities that would have probably occurred either way, but placing them after a set amount of time doing homework. He suggests treats that are easy to provide but that your child will enjoy, such as going for ice cream or sharing a candy bar. He also recommends breaking work up in chunks and using small breaks as rewards for getting through each chunk.