It is completely normal for parents to hope that their children succeed in every aspect of life, including their academic journey. These expectations are usually laid out at the preschool level so you can base your children’s progress against a certain benchmark.
Therefore, it can be quite distressing to come to the realisation that your children may be uninterested in learning despite your best efforts. As a result, the home environment becomes a zone of negative energy with a lot of arguments between both adults and children, just to get homework completed.
Believe it or not, children are not naturally lazy. There could be a series of underlying issues that have not been addressed that could be hindering your children’s learning abilities.
What sort of issues do children face that could result in their lack of interest in learning and what can you do to help them?
Overwhelming feelings are obstacles to their learning process
As adults, we deal with our feelings of being overwhelmed by compartmentalising issues and tackling them in small segments. Unfortunately, children do not have that ability to do so automatically.
Some children are afraid to voice out their misconceptions in class for fear of being judged by their peers. With lessons progressing quickly in the classroom, these children are buried under a mountain of concepts that they cannot logically process in their minds. The build-up will quickly manifest into negative feelings when they cannot manage their school work as well as their peers.
If your children face such feelings, positive reinforcements are necessary. Instead of blaming them for their inability to act on their fear, encourage them to speak to the teacher privately to clarify their doubts.
At the same time, remind your children that failure can help them to learn. You will still be proud of them despite the setbacks that they experience. This will boost their self-esteem, knowing that their parents always have their backs and the confidence gained will be reflected in their attitude towards their learning.
Power struggles between parent and child make things difficult
The battle of the wills is not a fun game that parents enjoy engaging in with their children. In fact, it is mostly frustrating and highly agonising when your children appear to disregard everything you say. Your best intentions to motivate your children may not sit well with them, especially if frustration is evident in your tone of voice when you speak to them.
One of the most common reactions parents get from their children is that they go into shut down mode right away. When that happens, any chance of rectifying the situation becomes immensely harder because there is so much to undo before you can get through to them.
Rather than commanding the direction your children should take to solve their issues, offer options instead.
For example, you could ask if they would prefer to go to a library to look for books on the subject matter, or they could speak to a teacher privately. In that way, not only are you steering them in the right direction, you are also giving them autonomy to make decisions that suit their learning styles. This applies to children as young as preschoolers.
Keep your expectations manageable
Whether you mean to or not, letting slip a few comparison statements between your children and their friends (or even among their siblings) can be detrimental to their self-confidence. Perhaps you may feel that peer pressure is your only method to motivate your children to do better.
However, when children face peer pressure, not only do their confidence level take a dive, they also begin to feel imperfect in the eyes of their parents. There are two ways this could end up: 1) Your children refuse to work hard because there is no point doing so as their friends will always be better than them; or 2) Your children put themselves under undue stress to achieve perfection.
You can foster your children’s learning to match your expectations if you cultivate a habit of comparison positively. Encourage your children to develop a habit of doing better than their previous efforts. By doing so, the only competition your children face is themselves. This can help to develop intrinsic motivation when they see that they are always striving to achieve better scores than their last attempt.
You can also set up realistic expectations for your children to achieve. Set a target that they can achieve so that they feel accomplished when they meet a mutually agreed goal.
Preschools in Singapore can help to detect gaps in learning
Learning needs can easily go undetected, especially if a child appears to be thriving. If you suspect that your children might be struggling to learn because there is an underlying issue not pertaining to just attitude alone, speak to your children’s teachers.
Teachers are keen observers of their students and they will be able to give you a more accurate assessment of your children’s learning behaviour in class. If intervention is needed, work with the teachers to get an early assessment so that your children can progress accordingly. Chances are, your children will show a more positive change towards learning once they feel supported in their needs.
Enrichment classes to boost subject mastery skills
If you find yourself strapped for time to coach your children at home, enrichment classes can be an avenue to outsource the teaching to specialists who help to raise your children’s subject mastery skills.
One option is the MindChamps ACA Kids programme which can do so much to nurture your children’s self-esteem and confidence level through its comprehensive theatre programme. A more academic-based enrichment programme can be found at MindChamps Academy for Primary 1 and 2, or MindChamps Primary Success programme for the upper primary levels.
Click on the relevant tabs below to find out more about MindChamps’ enrichment programmes – and sign up now:
Written by Danielle Hee