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How to Help Your Child Succeed at School - Advice From a Teacher

26 April 2022

Advice on how best to help your child succeed at school can be difficult to find, hard to understand and contradictory. Implementing this complicated advice is often even harder.

Here are some simple tips - recommended by an experienced teacher - that every parent can try at home to help their child succeed:

#1 Routines

All children need structure in order to thrive. While routines work best when personalised for the individual child and family, there are some key points to consider when creating an effective routine for any child:

- Co-construction: Your child is more likely to feel invested in the routine if they have helped to design it and understand it fully.

- Balance: Find a balance between study, play, social time and the pursuit of your child’s interests.

- Discipline and reward: Clearly lay out the consequences of your child sticking to (or not sticking to) the routine.

- (Some) flexibility: Understand that it is not always possible to stick rigidly to a routine.

#2 Set positive expectations

Expectations based around grades and performance will only add unnecessary pressure and can actually hinder a child’s performance and self-esteem. Instead, set positive expectations based on the process, not the final performance.

Show your child that failure is a part of the learning journey - children need to know that failure is a normal part of life and learning.

#3 Reward

Think carefully about how and when you will reward your child. Rewards should come in both short-term and long-term form.

An instant reward for showing commitment to revision (whatever the outcome of the test) will show your child that hard work is rewarded.

However, in life we are not always rewarded in the short-term. Teach your child that sometimes rewards are only given for long-term commitment and effort. Show them where their education could take them in the long-term. Get them excited about the future and the opportunities which their learning could unlock.


FlexiSpot’s Kids Desk for Home Schooling

#4 Help Your Child to Love Learning

Helping your child to love learning can be difficult. Start by making what they are learning seem relevant by giving real life examples. For example, multiplication seems like a difficult and irrelevant skill in a world with smartphone calculators - tell them about a time when mental maths was useful to you.

Make sure their work is pitched right (and if it is not, speak to their teacher). Studying should be challenging, but not overwhelming. If it is too easy they will disengage.

Practice is key - the more they practice a skill or revisit past learning, the easier it will seem and the more confident your child will feel about learning in general.

Finally, encourage play, experimentation and the pursuit of their passions.

#5 Study Space

Building a distraction-free productive workspace can help to improve your child’s concentration and attitude to learning.

Standing desks are now available in kids sizes too. Having a desk which adjusts to your child’s height and needs is beneficial for their posture, productivity and concentration. Standing desks also encourage movement which is good for your child’s health.


FlexiSpot’s Kids Desk for Home Schooling

However, creating a perfect study space doesn’t have to cost the earth and doesn’t require a separate room for study.

Ensuring their study space is distraction-free is crucial. A little personalisation is great to encourage motivation. And most importantly make sure the space is comfortable and well-lit. (Sitting in bed should be avoided!)

#6 Balance

Teaching your child how to switch off will have a huge impact upon their later quality of life.

Encourage them to chase their passions as well as completing homework and academic pursuits. Ensure they spend time developing their social skills by communicating with children both of their age group and outside their age group.

#7 Read

If you are going to try only one of these tips, it should be this one.

Children who read regularly develop a much greater mastery of language (the key to all other academic skills) which children who don’t read will never catch up to.

Primarily, reading should be directed by your child’s interests. Any type of reading will have a positive impact, whether it’s Shakespeare or an illustrated comic.

#8 Ask an Expert

Build a positive relationship with your child’s teacher. Although no one knows your child better than you, their teacher will have insights into their academic progress and has expertise in understanding how children learn.

Seek out professional support particularly if your child has additional needs or if you are worried about your child’s progress and development.

#9 Health

Encourage healthy eating and exercise - both have a positive impact on your child’s physical and mental health, as well as improving their concentration.

Additionally, no child should be sleeping less than eight hours a day. Young children should be reaching closer to twelve hours sleep a night to function properly. Create a wind-down bedtime routine (no digital screens!) to ensure your child can sleep deeply.

#10 Build Independence

Slowly decrease the level of support you offer your child over time (in agreement with their teacher) to encourage independence.

Avoid micromanaging your child or completing parts of their homework for them. Their teacher needs to know when they are struggling and you won’t be helping your child in the long run if you do everything for them.

Make sure your child attempts to find the answer by themselves first before you help them. Encourage them to give it a go, even if they get it wrong. Point them towards resources they could use to figure out where they went wrong. Encourage independent research and reading - learning how to find information for yourself is a key life skill