Your child may have settled into their new class, made friends and generally be enjoying school life, but what if they are struggling with the level of work being set for them?
The first thing to do is to speak to their teacher. It’s better to do this as soon as you think there are problems, rather than waiting until the next parents’ evening to bring it up, to prevent your child getting further behind. Try to make an appointment rather than catching them at the end of the school day, then you will have their full attention and not have to talk about your child’s worries in front of the other kids and parents.
The teacher should be able to tell you what areas your child is finding difficult and give you some ideas on what you can do at home to help them along. They will also be able to go through any teaching methods with you, so you’re not trying to teach your child to do something in a different way to what they have learnt at school, as this will just confuse them even more. The way you learnt to do something at school isn’t necessarily the same method your child is learning to use.
At home, try to give your child extra support in the areas they are struggling with, but don’t forget about any areas they are doing well in. Praise them for their achievements, as this will boost their confidence and give them the motivation to work hard and do well in other areas too.
Support at home doesn’t have to mean sitting at the table with a pile of books. You can encourage your child’s progress in creative ways – doing some baking or the shopping together can help with basic reading and maths skills, while a trip to a museum can engage them in a particular topic they may be having trouble understanding. Try to keep work at home light and fun. If the child enjoys the task, they are more likely to understand and get more out of it.
If your child isn’t enjoying a subject, the last thing they will want to be doing is spending all their time on it at home, so make sure they have enough free time and let them carry on with any out of school clubs and activities, unless they are finding it too difficult to find the right balance and becoming overtired. If this is the case, it may be worth taking a short break from one activity and picking it up again when the child is no longer struggling.
If there are ongoing issues or your child is struggling in more than one area, it may be worth a visit to the doctor and optician to rule out any hearing or sight problems. If there are no underlying problems, try not to worry too much, just be patient and understanding. All children learn at their own pace and with the right support at home and school they can make good progress throughout the school year.