Every parent like it when their kids love school and learning. But it is not new for kids to come out sharing negative experiences with learning. Learning can be fun, but can also come with negative experiences. I remember when we’d share our experiences after leaving secondary school – both the good and bad times were spoken of. But one thing usually concludes our experiences, how we miss school. Teachers can usually sense when a child loves school. They’ll feel comfortable sharing their ideas or their questions, their challenges, and what they’re excited about.
As children grow older, they are prone to have some negative school experiences. But luckily, there are concrete ways parents can thoughtfully help their kids learn to enjoy school even when it’s tough.
1. Make Learning Fun
The interesting part is that kids love learning. The moment they are interested in any topic, their will is a good sight to behold. Their brains naturally notice what’s new in their environment and direct their attention to novelty. Kids are also easy to inspire, and they follow whoever is leading them around. If as their teacher or parent you are excited about something, they will also get excited.
Interestingly, as much as kids love new experiences, they can also get a dopamine rush out of predictable situations. Read a child a familiar story—and pause to let them insert a word. Watch as they get excited when they experience a pleasurable surge of dopamine from predicting the word correctly. It is fun, which means they’ll want to do it again.
2. Try Not to Push
Parents are fond of forcefully attaching rewards to finishing tasks. Some will go as far as depriving their child dinner if they refuse to complete their homework. So what will you do if the child is finding it difficult to do the work? Will you send them to bed hungry? When kids begin to struggle, parents need to recognize if their child is drifting into the brain-drain territory.
When the frustration becomes overwhelming, it is advised to take a break or even call it quits for the night. There’s nothing good to be gained by pushing when a child is in a worked-up state.
3. Step in When Necessary
When kids find themselves struggling with a learning task or new concept, parents can try to help the child identify which part of the concept or task is difficult. This can help avoid frustration and help them learn to break a task into achievable parts.
Parents can help break assignments into their components en route to achieving the assigned objective. With kids with learning challenges, it’s really about supporting them in the right way and setting them up for success by giving the right amount of scaffolding.
READ MORE: 5 Best Ways To Engage Children Into Learning
4. Help Foster Friendship
Part of their learning has to do with developing social relationships with their peers in school. Friends are some of the most important people in a child’s school life. So, when those relationships are tested, so too is a child’s attitude about attending school.
To help kids develop more positive relationships with their mates, parents can set up play dates. Everything doesn’t necessarily have to be about learning, but how do our kids have conversations and play? The more well-socialized kids are, the more capable of collaboration and social cohesiveness in a classroom setting they can be, he adds.
5. Don’t Only Focus On the Negative
No one is above mistakes and for kids, I think we at times need to cut them some slack. It is good to correct them when they’ve done something wrong, but it becomes a problem when you only focus on the negative part of their learning – the mistakes they make. It is important to focus on the process and not the product. We have to see if we can find something to applaud and not miss a chance to be their biggest cheerleader and focus on the positive thing and not the negative.
Sometimes kids might be unable to complete an assignment or have a lot of trouble doing so. It can be difficult for parents themselves to feel fine with that. But parents need to acknowledge and perhaps step back from their own emotions and high expectations surrounding their child’s homework.