Getting your child back in the groove during half term by Anthony Smithby Caroline Bowmer, posted 21 Oct 2020
For a lot of children the statistics show that many primary age children have pretty much had a 6 month break from their normal schooling with little contact with their teacher. All have missed out on normal end of term activities like trips away and the fun elements of sports day and a party. So, it’s pretty likely that at the moment your child or children is feeling tired and not that enthusiastic about going to school, so what can you do about it? Here are a few ideas about getting back in the swing and making the most of a situation that is likely to be with us the rest of this academic year.
Rest assured that your child has done some learning, however little school they have had. A child learns in many different ways. They might not have been sat at a desk doing sums. However, I am sure that many of them will have had the chance to do some cooking where they have weighed out some ingredients. I’m sure they have watched some news and seen some statistic that they have asked about. I’m sure that they have had the chance to walk the dog with you and look around them at the changing scenery. All of these things are learning so don’t beat yourself up and think they have learned nothing, they have. At a primary age, learning is meant to be so much more than revising for an exam.
Enjoy the half term. You might be tempted to spend all of half term with the exercise books out whilst your child catches up. While a routine is very useful and perhaps half an hour a day spent where you focus on something that could be described as academic would help, your child also deserves a break and a rest. It is a stressful and busy time for everyone and if you are feeling tired, it’s a good bet your child might be too. If you are able, a trip outdoors, a walk along the beach or to the park or some time spent cooking can be useful for everyone.
- Make the learning fun. A child learns when they are enjoying themselves.
a. If you sit down with them for half an hour, make sure they know how long they will have to work for. Don’t remind them during the lesson unless they ask but be clear it will only be for half an hour. If they are thoroughly enjoying themselves, just ‘forget’ that half an hour is up and carry on. If they are clock watching, then half an hour will be plenty.
b. A reward always helps, make it something small and that you can deliver on. Half an hour work means half an hour Xbox, no interruptions, no nagging.
c. If they are struggling with something, leave it for a bit and return to it. This will help both you and your child to clear their head. Learning shouldn’t be a battle, if it is, something is wrong somewhere, either in the work that your child has been set, in their understanding or in your approach, examine all three.
d. Learn with your child. A great way to approach homework is to do it with your child, make (deliberate) mistakes, let them correct you, ask them how to do something. It helps you get to know if a child really understands what they are doing and it gives their self esteem a huge boost if they are teaching mum or dad something that they think is easy and you are pretending not to know.
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Getting back on track may feel like a mountain to climb. As the saying goes “the longest journey starts with the first step” and research shows that one technique that can really help with motivation is setting realistic goals. If this is an issue for your child this technique could help.