Whilst all parents say “let kids be kids”, most harbour aspirations for their children. It’s at this time of year, many pupils are facing the reality of 11+, SATs, GCSEs or A-Levels. At the same time, many parents across the UK are facing a dilemma; How do you support a child’s emotional wellbeing, whilst also ensuring that they do the best of their ability? As a parent myself of young children, I face this problem too. I wanted to share my thoughts with you.
Strengths and Weaknesses
To an adult, this might seem obvious. To a child, being able to understand how training your weaknesses can turn them into a strength, isn’t always clear. Training strengths isn’t necessarily a bad thing though. They can be a confidence boost if your child is struggling with the things they aren’t as good at. It also means they don’t lose the good practices they have around learning to their strengths. Whether it’s maths, non-verbal reasoning or English, there is no reason not to practise working out what a weakness is and working out ways to conquer it.
Working out fun ways for your child to work on the things they aren’t as good at is a challenge. Working on something you don’t feel that you can do is hard. That’s why it’s important to keep learning fun, particularly for young children. If you are struggling for activities, try looking some up online or ask your Smart 11+ Tuition tutor, who will be more than happy to help you with your question. As teachers of many years experience, they are good at getting the best out of pupils. Whether it’s for SATs or the 11+, please do ask.
So aside from working on a child’s academic ability, it is definitely important to give them time away from pure learning. That’s not to say that the things they’re doing can’t benefit them in its own way. Reading for fun is a good way for a child to unwind whilst also increasing their lexicon. Joining sports teams or gymnastic clubs can give children a good outlet for their physical growth. My little boy plays football and squash as a way of running off the energy.
I am a believer that technology, used correctly, is a brilliant educational tool. However, if you aren’t careful, the games that children play on tablets often don’t really give them any benefit to expanding their brain power. Perhaps consider allowing them one or two games of their choice and one or two games of your choice which will challenge their brain. Also, don’t forget that pupils at Smart 11+ Tuition get access to BOFA, our regular testing platform. Reward systems for completing these, like extra screen time or a sneaky 15 minutes on bedtime, can be a real incentive to kids.
You know best
Importantly, you know your child best. Listen to what they say. Try and pick up on signals that they are struggling with things. Talk to their teachers. All in all, I try to remember that they are just children and so all we can do is guide them to be the best version of themselves for when they walk into an exam room and pick up a pen.