School can be extremely stressful for students. This is the case, especially, when they feel that they are “not smart enough” to do well. Here are a few ways by which you, as a parent, can create a positive learning environment at home.
Focus on Progress
While all parents want their child to perform well academically, it is crucial to take note of the child’s learning process. Focus on progress instead of results. Have affirmative praise for the effort your child has put into raising his or her grades instead of scolding them for not performing up to your expectations. Cultivating an intrinsic motivation in your child to study hard and learn works much better than using threats or punishment. Ensuring your child has proper rest, exercise and leisure time is crucial. Piling up on tuition and extra classes may drain your child’s energy and love for learning.
Use Process Praise
Using process praise instead of person praise encourages a growth mindset in children. Process praise has a much stronger focus on your child’s effort. Examples of process praise are, “You worked hard on this test!” and “I can see you are putting in the effort to improve your mental sums.” Person praise may build a fear of challenges in children. This is because it focuses on specific characteristics of the child. An example of person praise is “you are such a smart girl/boy!” Process praise teaches the child that it is their effort to improve that counts, instead of evading challenges because they think they are not smart enough. Process praise will create a positive learning environment for your child.
Have a Structure
Structure drives behaviour, especially for young children. It is essential to enforce a routine that becomes familiar to your child. This method helps them understand when to study and have fun. It also teaches them about priorities and short-term goals. Remember to include sufficient play and rest in the routine. This creates a positive learning environment which enables your child to continue functioning optimally throughout the day!
Set realistic and simple goals that match your child’s current academic level. Change the goals incrementally as your child improves. If your child is struggling with spelling, for example, set a goal to get 5 out of 10 questions right. When he or she reaches that goal, aim for seven right words, and so on. Realistic goals that are perceived to be attainable will significantly reduce a student’s stress levels. They also create a more positive learning environment to improve.
Let Your Child Take Responsibility
Parents may not like to hear this. However, allowing your child to have a say in their learning will create a positive learning environment. Giving your child more responsibility increases their sense of ownership. This provides an intrinsic motivation to study. By this, it means giving your child a choice in what he or she will like to participate. If you come up with a daily timetable, let your child make comments or changes to it as well. This decreases the feeling that they are being “forced” to study. Instead, it increases their desire to do well.
No matter what, keep encouraging your child. Remind them that you will support and love them regardless. Also, focus on their progress and effort, not just the end-result.