If students are to maximise their potential from schooling, parents should play a key role in all aspects of their education and support should always be available. The degree of parental participation is a significant indicator of the quality of schooling. Some parents are more involved than others in terms of enhancing their children’s development and educational progress. Good parenting at home will always provide a good foundation of skills, values, attitudes, behaviour and self-concept.
We understand the importance of parental involvement as children are more likely to earn higher grades, attend school regularly, behave well, and have better social skills. However, no matter how much a parent does, there has to be a harmony between the parent, child and education triangle. After all this is a teamwork and everyone has to play their part. Here are some important issues you might be confronted with, so let’s have a look at the solutions.
What Do You Do If Your Child Has Difficulty In Studying?
Most parents tends to complain with the lack of effort their children outs into their studies (particularly homework). The biggest part of the problem is the absence of understanding the purpose of education. This applies to both parents and children. I occasionally ask the following question to primary school children: why do you go to school, what happens if you don’t go? Most reply back saying, “I go to school because my parents wants me to go, and if I don’t, they’ll be sad”. This clearly shows that the child hasn’t grasped the sole purpose of going to school.
Well, What’s Important?
Firstly, your child does not need to be someone according to your desires, wishes or expectation. Another words every child is unique. Your child is not going to be successful just because you want them to be. As a parent your primary role is to guide them appropriately and make sure you know your child very well. Yes, this might sound a little strange but there are large number of parents that know very little about their child, e.g., their favourite books; favourite singer or musical group; what is your child’s favourite TV show? If your child could do anything he/she chose for a day, what would it be?
Parents are very busy taking care of their children and sometimes lose tract of some of the details of their lives. Make sure that as a parent you are aware of how much, or how little you know about your child. With this intelligence in mind, you need to analyse your child’s way of learning correctly and present them with a suitable learning style. Don’t forget that it’s also proportional to your child's intelligence.
Secondly, do not get lost in the hustle and bustle of the education system. It keeps changing all the time anyway, which is impossible for you to keep up with it. Most parents judge their children according to their academic achievements (i.e. exam results). It seems parents are more concerned about exam results than their child’s happiness. Parents must be aware of their child’s potential. According to a research carried out by University of Reading, parents who aim too high for their children at school can have a negative impact on academic performance. The researchers suggest that parental aspiration only benefits children if it is realistic. It also highlights the danger of simply aiming high to promote children's academic achievement. So, try not to be exam result centred parent, but instead focus more on their happiness.
Should Parents Really Help Children With Their Homework?
Education system is in the era of technology and fast changing too. Parents, teachers, and children struggle to catch up with this pace, which seem to be creating more problems than solutions.
We strongly recommend parents to study with their children up to the age of 9 (year 4 and/or year 5 groups at primary school level), but it doesn’t mean that parent’s should take all the responsibility of doing the homework. Otherwise you will prevent your child from learning key skills like logical thinking and self-confidence, so much needed for a prosperous future. On average your child should allocate around 15 minutes for homework, and additional 5 minutes (if needed) for you to provide relevant assistance.
According to a survey conducted by Becta, a UK government agency for technology in education, found that five out of six (83%) parents struggle to help their children with their homework. The usual suspects are Mathematics and Science. The responsibility should not be placed on a single parent, both mum and dad should be part of the home learning/teaching exercise.
A number of psychologists say that it’s not really parent’s responsibility to teach their children at home. Homework shouldn’t be considered as a time spent for enjoyment purposes. Otherwise the role of parenting changes which may lead to further conflict. If possible, parents should have their primary school aged children complete their homework either at school (with the help of teachers), or at a private tuition center (that’s if your financially sound), and spend the rest of the time playing with each other, chatting, supporting each other (which is the primary role of a parent).
What Is The Average Attention Span For Children, And How Much Time Should They Allocate To Play?
While studying (or doing homework), as a parent we should try to turn it into something you both enjoy doing. Note that primary school aged children’s attention span is not yet fully developed, which means they are easily distracted and will probably find it challenging to focus back again. So, sufficient amount of time should be allocated for rest and play before starting homework. This period should be at least 1.5 hours after arriving from school.
Remember that children who are forced to do their homework without having had time to play and rest, can be reluctant to work and even if they do, they will probably be less productive and take longer to complete their homework. Also, it’s important for children to play at least 1 hour before going to bed.
How To Make Homework Fun And Enjoyable?
When your child comes from school, instead of asking, “how was your day at school today”, ask something different, for instance, “I wonder if anything interesting or funny happened at school today” or “the other day you said something about Lucy, what happened”? Try to keep each other excited rather than asking judgemental questions. For example, “yesterday you learned about the seasons, what have you learned today?” Share your child’s learning journey with excitement and have fun.