• Ian Gibbs

Helping Kids Learn 1: Appreciation



How much interest do you show in what they do?

When was the last time you looked at their coursework/homework?

Could you explain what concepts they’re studying or what their last assignment was?


We all like our efforts to be appreciated.


Have you ever done a task (maybe solving a problem at work, maybe an arduous bit of housework or DIY) and had it ignored?


How did you feel about that?


How would you have felt if your boss, or partner or even just a passing stranger took the time to stop, take a look and say “Hey, that’s great. Well done!”


Would it make you feel better or worse?


Silly question. Of course it would make you feel better, if done in the right way.


The right way being recognition that is nonjudgmental.


If the person in question started to make comments like “It’s ok, but…” or “You’ve made a mistake there.” or “Why haven’t you finished that bit?” then it would irritate you and you’d prefer them to keep their nose out of your business.


But if it’s a genuine ‘good job!’ then it’s very welcome and can work wonders.


So you can help improve how your child feels about their studies by taking the time to recognise and appreciate their work without comments like…


“You’ve spelt that wrong”

“You’ve missed something out”

“That’s wrong”


Yes, I know when you make this comments, you’re only trying to help - we’ll look at that in a later blog. But for the moment, my question still stands: How much interest do you show in what they do?


How about measuring it in minutes?


Fifteen minutes a day?

Five minutes a day?

One a day?

Zero?


If you want to help your child have a more positive attitude to their studies, if you want them to feel better about their course work, their homework or themselves as a student, then you can start by making it clear that you value what they do sufficiently to take a genuine interest in it.


If possible, pay them a visit while their studying at home. You can do this incidentally by delivering their favourite drink and snack.


Otherwise show interest afterwards. Ask to see their work and nonjudgmentally appreciate their efforts.


Your child might be wary at first, thinking that you’re going to judge, criticise or even humiliate them (remember how you feel when someone does that to you).

But keep at it.


Once your child doesn’t feel threatened when you ask about what they’re doing, once they know you’re not going to give them unwanted criticism, then they’ll start to feel more comfortable sharing their ideas with you.


So set yourself a goal.


Try to dedicate a little time, each day, so your child can share their work, thoughts or even frustrations with you and without the fear of being judged, criticised or humiliated.


We learn better when we feel good about our studies and we feel better about our studies when our efforts are appreciated.

 

Tip 1: Take time each day to appreciate you child’s work and to allow them to share it with you without fear of judgment.

 

 

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