Studies and education are the primary task for any child. Not a single day goes by when I do not receive a call from a parent seeking some support, guidance or advice on how to ensure their child is able to achieve a significant result which would set him apart from the average crowd.
In all likelihood the greatest source of worry for you as a parent involves ensuring that your child is achieving up to his potential. This creates a great need to make sure that he is not making any error and that you are providing the right supports and scaffolding for your child to be able to do well in his life. And perhaps the biggest thing which contributes to your child’s ability to achieve is the education he gets. If he is not doing well at school your worries and anxieties that he may not do too well in life increase exponentially.
As a result, ensuring your child is getting increasingly proficient in his academics becomes the greatest source of stress and pressure for most parents and I am sure this includes you as well.
The Tussle around Academics
The anxiety and apprehension relating to academics can become quite a struggle for a parent. Trepidation surrounds when parents need to push their child to sit down and finish work or get studies done on time.
Ranging from the time to sit down to study, to how much time to spend on studying, where to sit down and study, how frequently breaks should be taken, have the television switched on or not, keep the phone adjacent to where one is sitting to study or not or whether doing homework alone constitutes studying or self-study is also an essential - the problems can be numerous.
The more the tussle the greater the delay in getting things done and this becomes a great challenge for you as a parent. And more often than not you would find yourself wondering and trying to find solutions to how to get your child to do his work on time.
The Things Parents Can Do
No doubt this can be a tough thing to enact but finding ways is a must as you do not want this to even start impacting your relationship with your child. The fact is that if there is continuous argument and back and forth in trying to get your child to study a certain way, it would lead to some negativity entering your interactions and eventually even impacting how you view each other and your sense of relatedness.
Here are some of the things you can try and do:
- Make sure there is a system right from the start. For any system to work effectively its inception and integration needs to occur at the earliest. For your child to get into a routine of doing things, it is important that you inculcate this habit right from an early age. Attempting to get your child to do things in a systematic manner is rather difficult if you are going to try this late in his academic career.
- Know that your child will fight you as most children do not like doing homework.If you try and recollect your time as a student you would also recall that you also did not like doing homework. There is so much to make a child feel engaged and entertained that homework seems mundane and boring. Making homework interesting for a child is not always possible. But it is important for you to recognize and accept that your child will not like homework. Acceptance does not mean that you agree but it helps to ensure that it does not create a negative mark in your mind and lead to too many negative interactions with your child. At the same time it enables you to still keep enforcing the boundaries that are essential.
- Help facilitate the process of doing homework but do not do it yourself. The biggest challenge which parents face is to stay out of the conflict zone and facilitate their child’s process of doing his homework. Facilitation involves providing the right environment and ensuring your child has the stationary and any other materials he may require to do his work. It does not mean that you do the homework for him as it inhibits the process of learning and also interferes with the development of other essential skills such as decision making, problem solving, time management and critical thinking.
- Allow your child to bear the consequences of not doing his work. I know as a parent this is tough for you. But it is important that you allow for your child to bear the consequences of his actions or inactions pertaining to his work. This would ensure that your child starts taking responsibility for the consequences that follow through when he does not do his work. And ultimately it becomes his choice to do or not do something. Remember no one likes to fail and all children want to do well. So once the responsibility falls upon them the chances of their taking a proactive role in doing their tasks on their own increase as well.
- Use positive reinforcement and clearly enlist the consequences of not doing work. Children require prompts and reinforcements to do their work. You would agree that you provide for sufficient and frequent prompts for your child to do his work. However, frequently we forget to reinforce the positive behaviors that the child does display. Ensuring that positive and proactive behaviors are recognized is a must and at the same time you need to make sure that your child knows and understands the consequences of not following through on what is required of them.
- Be mindful if your child has a learning problem. It is important to also be aware that children can have what are known as learning disabilities. If you have been observing that despite all his and your efforts your child is still not able to take care of his academic tasks and appears to not have the skills that are essential for academic success, meet an expert to be certain of the potential presence of a learning disability. If your child does have a learning problem he will struggle and would be avoidant of his work at and from school. This would require you to focus on helping him build his basic skills with the help of a special educator instead.
Making your child do his work can be challenging but it is not an impossible task. Consistent engagement with the above enlisted steps, starting form an early age can ensure that your child takes the responsibility for his academics on to his own self.