A few years ago, I read a true story about someone’s personal childhood. It touched me deeply, and I’d like to share it here. The writer was very young, perhaps three or four years old at the time. Whenever he came back from school, his mom would check his schoolwork for the day.
That day, she noticed that the teacher gave ‘smileys’ and stars even when the child had done his class or homework poorly. This bothered her, and she approached the teacher to complain about it.
The teacher replied politely, “You know, these small children have just left their comfortable homes to step into the whole new world of school. They come here to learn, and I don’t want to smother their love for learning by pointing out their little mistakes with my red pen.”
“At this time, it is more important for us to kindle and tend their passion for learning new things. When I give them stars and smileys, they are thrilled and are encouraged to do more. I think you should do likewise.” The mother was speechless at this teacher’s consideration and wisdom.
This true story made me understand how we, as parents and teachers, spend so much time in finding mistakes in the hard work that our children do so passionately. They come to us trustingly to show us what they have done, and we point out their mistakes.
No, I’m not against checking their work – but while doing so, can’t we try not to break the child’s heart and discourage him? In the initial years of schooling, tending and grooming the love for study should be our first priority.
Here are some ways you can help your child develop a love of learning.
Focus On The Positives
When your child comes to you with the work he has done, why not point out that he has done eight things right and only two things wrong? Appreciate his efforts and encourage him to keep trying to get even more ‘rights’.
Never condemn him for a poor job – instead, find good things to praise. You will definitely find a few. Choose to see the glass half full instead of half empty.
Don’t Criticize His Teachers
If you have a problem with your kid’s teacher, don’t say nasty things about her in front of him. Teachers are gurus – to younger kids, they have a God-like status and must be respected. If you feel there is a problem, talk to the teacher directly. Your child cannot learn from a person he is taught to disrespect.
Homework Is Not Everything
It is never easy for parents to get their kids to do their homework. Homework is important, but not more than the child’s self-esteem and confidence. We often lose patience when our kids do their homework improperly and we tend to say things that we have cause to regret afterward.
Don’t use absolute negative sentences like, “You can never do it well.” Such remarks lower a child’s self esteem. Instead, exercise patience and say, “I know you can and will do your homework well.” – and then believe it.
Take An Interest In His Work
Ask the child to ‘teach’ you what he has learned at school. Pretend for a while that you really don’t know anything about that new poem or alphabet – he’ll take pride in teaching you, and be encouraged to do his homework well.
Don’t Use School As A Threat
Many parents try to prevent children from engaging in mischief, especially on holidays, by saying things like, “Stop it, or I will send you to school.” School should not be portrayed as a form of punishment, but as a sacred word.
Don’t Compare Your Child To Others
If your child finds it difficult to learn something that other kids are picking up quickly, don’t imply that his friends are smart and he is dumb. This is the worst thing you can do – instead, tell him that when you were his age, you found certain things difficult yourself, but were eventually able to master them by persisting. He needs your support and encouragement to keep trying.
Focus On His Growth – Not The Competition
A report card reflects a child’s academic performance and indicates in which areas the child needs to work harder and which he is strong in. Don’t drag your child into competition and make him feel superior or inferior on the basis of academic grading.
Be A Healthy Role Model
Our children observe and emulate us. Don’t get upset over little issues at school – by condemning the school, we stifle our child’s love for learning. Every good school has at least a few flaws. Take the initiative, approach the school authorities and present solutions in a positive frame of mind. Let your child learn from you how to tackle problems.
In aiding our child’s learning path, our roles are not limited to getting him admitted in a reputed school. It includes grooming the child’s love for learning, which includes academics as well as extra-curricular activities. It takes a lot of hard work to turn a child into a happy, enthusiastic, eager-to-learn human being, but in the end you’ll find it’s worth it.
Copyright © Dimple Walia
Dimple Walia is an Electronics and Communications engineer who opted for voluntary retirement to better look after her home and her four-year-old son. She is currently enjoying motherhood and pursuing her passions – reading and writing.
This article may be reprinted with the complete author bio and a link back to http://www.lovingyourchild.com
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