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HELPING YOUR CHILD
WITH HOMEWORK OR STUDYING
Unfortunately, for many families, when a parent tries to help their child study or do homework, the parent and child wind up having a fight. Most often, the conflict between parent and child could have been avoided if the parent just exhibited a little common sense.
To begin, remember that there is no ideal time of day to study with your child. Some children are most receptive right after school, some after dinner, and some before bed. For each family, the perfect time to study will be different. It is up to you to select a time which is good for you and your child. You don't want to hold a study session when your child might be fidgety, hungry or tired. Nor do you want to hold a session when you might be feeling fidgety, hungry or tired. Pick a time which is good for both of you.
When you and your child are ready to start, be prepared. Make sure you have all materials (books, paper, pens, pencils, etc.) arranged comfortably in front of your child - not in between you and your child! If your child needs something to make him/her comfortable, help her/him out. Think of your child as your customer. Cater to your child. Pamper your child (within reason). If you give him/her the tools needed to learn and make her/him as comfortable as possible you are setting the stage for a productive session.
When working with your child be supportive. The objective is to help your child learn. Keep your objective in the back of your mind and keep focused on the objective. Try to remember, learning something new is extremely difficult no matter how easy the subject matter may appear. Therefore, it is okay for your child to make mistakes! Don't get frustrated if things don't connect right way for your child. Learning is often a slow process. Certain items may need many different explanations before your child makes progress. Both you and your child need to remember that it is okay to make mistakes. Make sure you let your child know it!
When you are working with your child try not to work on an emotional level. Don't let your son/daughter "push your buttons". If anyone can make a parent lose their cool, it is their child. But now is not the time to get caught up in your child's games. Treat your child as if he/she were a stranger's child you were helping. If you were helping a stranger's child you probably wouldn't yell at the child if they offered resistence, didn't understand certain concepts, or made careless mistakes. If you were dealing with a stranger's child you wouldn't be confrontational or judgemental no matter what was happening during the session. Behave the same way with your own child, be cool, calm and collected!
You should always be supportive, yet honest when working with your child. In other words, let your child know when they are right, but don't over exaggerate their accomplishments. And by the same token, also let your child know when they have made mistakes without begrudging them for their errors. Yes, they will make mistakes. Some of the errors will be careless and some will be because they really don't undertand or remember something. No matter what type of mistake you encounter simply let them know they made a mistake in a loving way. Help them correct their error if necessary, and then move on.
Above all, when working with your child be relaxed. It is up to you to create an atmosphere which will encourage learning. And since the objective is for your to learn, make sure you do the minimum amount needed to assist your child. The idea is for you and your child to have a productive learning session during which your child learns the material as independently as possible.