Is your child falling behind in school? Or maybe they are doing fine, but you know they could be doing better? Let’s take a look at some of my best tips for increasing your child’s academic success.
It doesn’t matter if your child is first in the class or last in the class: there is always room for improvement when it comes to academic success.
What skills do students need to be successful academically?
- A growth mindset 📈 Intelligence is not fixed! It can and does change over time. We want kids to believe that they can improve their knowledge and become smarter by working at it. (I talk to my students about growing their brains all the time!)
- Perseverance 💪 Getting better at something is not easy. Kids need to be okay with struggling sometimes. Give your child lots of practice doing hard things so they can feel how great it is once they make it to the end!
- Curiosity 🤔 An open, questioning mind will take you far in school. Encourage your child to ask questions to deepen their understanding and get clarification.
- Social skills 🤝 It’s not just about maths and reading. Kids need to be able to interact with other kids and adults in a positive way.
- Time management ⏱️ As kids advance in school, they will need to take more ownership of their work. This includes budgeting time to get everything done.
What can parents do at home to support learning?
- Help your child grow the skills they need to succeed in school by practicing them at home! Give them chores, let them make important decisions, and don’t forget to allow them time to rest and play.
- 🙅 Don’t talk negatively about your own intelligence. Especially do not say you are terrible at maths! Kids are always listening and learning lessons (whether it’s the lesson we want to teach or not! 😬).
- You can also encourage learning by making the subjects relevant to real life - point out how you use maths every day, have a family reading hour, pick a fun science experiment to do Saturday morning.
- When kids are working on schoolwork, encourage focus by helping them set goals for what they want to get done.
- Teach new skills in small bits so that it doesn’t become overwhelming.
- Link their academics to a future career goal. Do they want to be astronaut? Then physics is essential! Pick up on their personal interests to get them fired up about a subject.
- Turn learning into a game. Fun games like chess do more than just pass the time. They can also help to improve logical thinking skills which help with subjects at school. Take a look at our list of best board games for kids to get some inspiration.
- Especially when kids are young it's important for parents to be involved. Whether that's reading together or doing some open ended play.
How do you teach a child with low academic performance?
First things first: if your child is really struggling, they might need extra support. Consider some testing if you suspect your child has a learning disability. SEND services can help level the playing field for kids who have a diagnosis.
But for all kids, learning disability or not, here are some key things to keep in mind.
- Confidence is key! We want kids to feel capable and confident when they are doing schoolwork. Help your child identify their strengths.
- Scaffolding is not just for construction 🏗️ In education, scaffolding means to provide learning opportunities for kids that are just above the level they can do on their own. Not too hard, but not too easy. In Montessori we say “help as much as necessary and as little as possible.”
- Focus on growth! For kids who are struggling, they might not make it to grade level (or whatever the benchmark is!) by the end of the school year. The important thing is that they continue to make progress and grow from where they started.