Hello my dear TW readers. I hope your week is going great! This write-up speaks on raising children for greater heights. Today I want to share with you some of the factors that can affect children’s academic performance and tips on how to deal with them. As a parent, I’m sure you know that children come in different personalities. Some children have the innate ability to do things themselves with little or no external nudge while some need assistance to cultivate good habits. When we notice this mild delay, it is our responsibility as parents to teach and help the child develop it.
Today, I want to discuss the executive function skills for elementary school and how to help children function effectively with academic expectations. A child that lacks executive function skills will mostly not perform very well in academics and extracurricular activities without proper help and guidance. What are executive functions skills? “Executive functions are the cognitive abilities that control and regulate most of what we do in day-to-day life. Executive functions include the ability to initiate, plan and organize, set goals, solve problems, regulate emotions, and monitor behavior”. WHEN CHILDREN LACK EXECUTIVE FUNCTION SKILLS, THEY NEED TO BE TAUGHT EXPLICITLY. It helps to start with an inventory of your child’s strengths—a good memory, focuses intensely on things that interest him, is good at self-assessment, flexible about coming up with alternative plans, etc.—so you can rely on the things he’s good at to help develop the skills he doesn’t have”.
Attention- For children that get easily distracted, here are tips on how to help focus:
Cut down distractions – both sights and sounds (TV, games, unnecessary attachments to the hair, unnecessary clothing, unnecessary wall pictures etc.) in short anything that can catch the child’s attention. The child’s room must be free of distractions or stimulating objects.
Home and homework – At home, if you are asking a child to do something, ask it in front of his or her face. Find a place quiet and dull to do Homework. Doing homework on the kitchen table does not work for most kids. The child should be in a room with the TV and radio off. Keep a very solemn atmosphere at home during homework time. Just like the atmosphere in the library.
When addressing your child, use rehearsed listening techniques- Parents need to be formal and more consistent in their mode of approach. Whenever you want your child to focus, use cue words such as “Listen up. News Flash! This is important”. Personally, I use this tip quite often at home. My phrase when I call for attention is “Listen up, this is an instruction or listen carefully, this is important”……
Combine written and oral instructions- Children are very visual. If you have never tried this before, please do. It works like magic. I use this with my children. For example, at home, when you tell them to clean the room and put away their clothes – write it down on a little blackboard (or on a paper in bold) in their room at the same time. You can even write their chores in a sequential step-by-step order. Have them follow it every day (please be consistent). After a while, it becomes habitual and this might reduce the multiple reminders and nagging.
Interactive listening- Rather than using worksheets to practice addition problems use simple computer programs they hold a child’s attention much better and generally provide instant feedback! I don’t really use this method (maybe because I am a little old school). I also believe that if a child solves a problem through writing it down, the tendency to forget is less than when the child clicks a button to solve it. But then that is me 🙂 . Computer program that has a lot of action combined learning can be very useful as well.
Make life more structured at home- I touched on this last week. Structure and routine are very beneficial to every child. Children do better if they know that every day they can play at a certain time, do their daily chores at a certain time, do their homework at another time, and eat and sleep at a predictable time
Lack of sleep will make anyone less attentive- Regular bedtimes and calm activities before bed sometimes can be very helpful. If this problem is severe, this may be a reason to consider medications; as poor sleep makes for poor attention.
Physical activity- Keep your child busy when outside their structured play time. Find the right sport or physical activity for your child. Physical activity and group sports are extremely important to build the self-esteem and social skills of a child.
I will stop here for today. As you can see, a child’s success in life depends a lot on the effort, resources and sacrifice parents are willing to make. May God help us all!
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Thanks to the following sources: Parent Academy; Reading is fundamental (RIF); Smart Kids