When our children go to high school, it is a tumultuous time, full of change, and this is the second time in our lives, as parents, that we have the opportunity to instill some worthwhile habits, not just for them, but for us as well. It’s important that we give our children the best opportunities we can in life, but we need to remember that just before they become teenagers, they need support and guidance, but they also need to have the opportunities to develop themselves. What can we all do to ensure that our children get the best start in high school?
Understand What They Need to Thrive
It could very well be about the fact that they need a bit more structure at home, in which case, we may need to set out strict homework timetables to ensure that they are, at the very least, doing something that gives them structure. It could also be about ensuring they have the things that give them a bit more of an anchoring in school. For example, ensuring they have a laptop can help them to take notes, but it also allows them to peruse the information later on.
You could also invest in something like a flash drive which means they can put information onto it quickly for ease of access on other devices. Technology is important, but we have to remember that it doesn’t overshadow the fact that children need to learn. Half of the problem with children is that they have access to such information that they feel they don’t need to retain it, which is why the next point is critical.
Uncover Their Learning Style
If we figure our children learn best, we can give them guidance as to what they can do to retain information better. There are different types of learning styles, with the main three being visual, auditory, and kinaesthetic. When we understand which learning style they are, we can accommodate their needs better. You may have had an understanding of how your child learns best already, but it’s at this point where you need to truly drill down and figure out what can help them to learn things easier.
We talk about the notion of hard work, but when it comes to the act of learning, we could very well be telling them to knuckle down and study by hitting the books, but this may not be the best course of action for them. Helping them to uncover their learning style early on ensures they are working smart. Rather than them sitting at a desk staring at a textbook without the information going in, you can save potentially hundreds of wasted hours by uncovering their learning style first.
Stop Avoiding Failure
We have it drummed into us that failure is to be avoided at all costs. When it comes to developing any skill, we have to be bad at it first to get good later. Sometimes, we have a natural aptitude for something, but we have to stay away from the idea that failure is “bad.” Our children can have two key traits that help them here:
- Not having a fear of failure.
- Having the resilience to push through when they fail.
When we get over these two components, we develop skill. When it comes to helping our children in this manner, here are a few things that you could try:
Teach Them About Your Own Failures and What You Did to Overcome Them
It’s critical to explain the idea of a learning curve because it helps them to connect the notion of hard work with the reward.
Do Not Over Praise
When we tell our children that they did something “brilliant” or “amazing,” and they don’t do something that matches this later, it immediately instills inferiority. We need to set positive expectations and make sure that they are realistic.
Teaching Them Skills That Affect Their Logic, Strategic Planning, and Problem-Solving
There’s a lot to ensure that our children have the ability to understand the concept of failure. This could be about helping them learn a musical instrument they don’t necessarily understand, but we can also let them play games they have an interest in, but requires a constant application. Something like Minecraft is a great example because it involves persistence and long-term development of cultivating new worlds, but it can also have a number of benefits on your child’s dexterity because of the control pad. If you do not like the idea of getting your children into video games, something like chess can make a massive difference. Chess is the best example of a board game that can help develop our skills because it relies completely on the player’s patience and skill, not on chance.
Keep Report Cards Hidden
The biggest misconception in schools is that grades are the only thing that matters. When we put report cards on the refrigerator, this is reinforcing the idea that grades are the only thing that will ever count. We have to place value on the process rather than the product. Parents can be preoccupied with grades because this is all they see, rather than the application or the hard work.
If a child gets a B rather than an A, this can instill that insecurity or potential for failure. Grades are not the biggest indicator of learning, but they can also reduce motivation, undermine children’s creativity, and even encourage underhand tactics like cheating. Many schools have moved away from the grading system and are focusing on evaluations, but this still means we should not brag about grades, especially for children who feel that this is all that matters.
There can be many children who get those great grades and then decide to rebel against them because they realize it provides very little value to them.
To ensure your child excels in high school, you’ve got to think about the bigger picture. It’s easy for us to think that their academic success hinges on one test or one item of homework. We have to think about the long-term in terms of their growth. It is important that our children learn in school, but we’ve got to recognize what is more important in the long run. If our child forgets to do their homework, it’s more important for us to develop a strategy so that they don’t forget it again, rather than rushing to get it delivered on time.
While the bigger picture can be tough for kids to see, this is why we need to implement a solid structure to ensure that they are working constantly towards slowly developing certain skills. Education is about the long haul, and this is why we should not be focused on the day-to-day things, but rather address the bigger picture.
Help Your Child to Love Learning
This is one of the toughest things we can instill into our children. If we can help our children to enjoy learning, by stimulating creativity associated with subjects that they may not necessarily like, or helping them to change their mindset, for example, by improving their mood and their attitudes towards a subject, it will help them to persist.
If we could encourage our children to enjoy learning, it would make a massive difference but the best place to begin is with a positive mindset. When we find something difficult we don’t want to do, we must approach it, not with a negative frame of mind, but with enthusiasm.
Make Academic Skills Relevant to Your Children
A child may not want to apply themselves to a specific subject because they don’t understand the relevance. Mathematics is a very good example because many people seldom see the point of quadratic equations, but there are very simple aspects of math that can help your child to apply them in real life.
There will be more obvious subjects that have applications in real life, for example, languages or geography, but if we can help our children to understand how the subject feels relevant in the real world, this may stimulate more enthusiasm because they become invested in the subject.
Help Them Relax
You need to recognize that high school and any form of higher education is a lot of work to structure, and this, in conjunction with hormonal changes, can make for a very difficult time, especially when you think back to your teenage years and how difficult it was because you could not concentrate.
The best thing we can do for our children is to give our children better tools to focus and concentrate, but also help them to switch off. We need to combat stress because this is the biggest thing that will hinder their abilities. The sooner we teach our children proactive relaxation techniques, the better. It is critical that we give our children the tools to succeed in a high school setting. There’s a variety of physical, mental, and emotional tools out there, but at the end of the day, only your child can apply them.