Summer vacation. Oh, how we sing thy praises! For many, time away during that time of year means beach trips, time with family, and relaxation. But this time of year has pitfalls — especially for students.
Time away from school won’t solve a student’s scholastic woes. It just postpones them. Many students who have problems with learning will confront the same challenges for success in school this fall. How can you help you children face and overcome those hurdles? Solutions may be easier than you think.
At one time a student’s main learning curves involved tackling “the three Rs.” Increasingly teachers are encountering broader issues, particularly socialization, concentration and motivation. When a student acquires the general but necessary skills needed to play and interact well with others, focus and to self-start, excelling around specific subject matters becomes easier.
When students are combative and aggressive, they’re too distracted by challenging authority or their peers to benefit from a sound education. Introducing your child to social skills should begin before kindergarten. As reported here, experts suggest enrolling children in preschool classes or scheduling play dates with neighborhood children. Older children might engage in team sports or other group activities. In a team dynamic, students learn the benefits of working alongside others toward a similar goal and to abide by certain rules and appreciate structure. They learn to respect authority in the form of coaches and referees, and that same respect filters over to other authority figures like parents and teachers.
Technology brings convenience and fun, but it has its downside. According to a study by The Oxford Journal, there’s a direct correlation between television viewing and attention deficit. HealthOMG! reported on a similar study by Iowa State University researcher Edward Swing, which reported that more than two hours of daily exposure to television or video games severely decreases a child’s focus. It’s important to monitor your child’s television and video game habits. Replace the overwhelming stimulus of television, video games and smartphones with more useful stimuli like exercise, cooking as a family, or — as Hasbro suggests — establish a Family Game Night. Activities like these teach young and old alike to focus instead of endlessly seeking the next big thrill.
A student’s motivation problem is often a parent’s motivation problem. Parents need to motivate themselves to be more involved in their child’s education. Ask questions. Get excited. Reward achievements. Set specific but reasonable, simple goals. Once students reap the benefits of accomplishing simple goals, they’ll associate benefits with accomplishing tasks — even the difficult ones.
But each child is different, as are their challenges. This is best illustrated through an anecdote from Southeast Psych’s Dr. Craig Pohlman.
Even though two dishwashers may leak, fixing each leak may require different tools.
If you feel the challenges facing your child are too difficult to overcome, reach out to us at Southeast Psych. We have an team called Mind Matters, which is dedicated to assessing and fostering learning in students.
How do you keep your child motivated? What strategies have you developed to keep them on task? How have you changed your little troublemaker into a team player? Our blog is a forum for parents to share. Let us hear from you!