Your child and you
Draw up an after-school schedule with your child, taking into account his preferences. For example, some children like to jump straight into their homework immediately after school, while others prefer working in the evening.
“Always factor in breaks so that Junior can visit the toilet, enjoy some snacks, or simply have a rest,” Dr Lim advises. This can improve your child’s concentration and mood tremendously. However, these breaks should not be lengthy enough for him to procrastinate, so keep them to around five to 10 minutes each.
There’s also the mindboggling task of figuring out each child’s activity schedule, from tuition to swimming and music lessons. Set up a whiteboard for the entire family and mark in everyone’s activities for the week. It makes it easier to keep track of everything.
“It’s necessary for your child to unwind after a whole day of school,” Janice says. Play can also help your child learn skills that might prove useful in the classroom. “During free “A positive parent-teacher relationship can greatly enhance a child’s academic performance,” Janice says.
Dr Lim agrees, saying: “It’s important for parents to build rapport with teachers, especially if the child is facing academic difficulties. This enables both parties to work hand in hand to address these issues.”
Make it a point to attend parent-teacher conferences and other school events, and be sure to communicate your child’s preferences and habits clearly to his teacher. School can be stressful for your little one, so be supportive and encouraging. “Children exhibit fear and anxiety in different forms – this can manifest in avoidance behaviours, such as a reluctance to go to school, or even sleep difficulties,” Janice shares.
Keep an open mind. “Telling your child not to worry is not helpful. Instead, acknowledge and validate his fears. By empathising and understanding your child’s fears, you’re also conveying that things are under control,” Janice says.
Dr Lim suggests bringing up anecdotes from your own school days or using storytelling as a tool to illustrate certain issues.
Giving your child too much help with his homework can be counterproductive. Homework is meant to be a gauge of your child’s academic abilities – so Junior’s teacher won’t realise that he needs help in Mathematics if you’ve been correcting his work.
“It’s important for your child to understand that doing homework is his responsibility and not yours, so avoid getting overly involved,” Janice says. You can work alongside your child and answer questions when needed, but check a few answers instead of proofing everything.