It is most parents’ wish that their children do well at school. They hope that through education their children will improve their own, or their family’s social status. They dream of their children finishing school and becoming independent. They hope that their children will be happy and enjoy learning. It can be very difficult for a parent to see their child struggling at school, because they find it too hard. Sometimes it looks as though their child is too playful, but the reality is, they may be struggling to focus on school and this needs to be explored.
The first step to helping your child with school is to regularly check in with them to see how they are doing. Which subjects do they struggle with? Are they up-to-date with their homework? What do they enjoy and dislike at school? Speak to them daily and to their teachers regularly. By supporting their learning, you will come to know if your child is facing challenges that need intervention. Early intervention (Grade R, 1 or 2) is very important, because everything a child learns at school builds on the previous grade. If something interrupts their learning, they can have gaps in their knowledge that negatively impacts on their future learning.
A child needs to feel safe for their brain to learn. If they live with ongoing stress or have experienced a trauma, their brain may be too focussed on surviving to think about schoolwork. If a child is struggling at school, it is always important to consider emotional factors that may be impacting on them. It may be difficult for a child to put these worries into words. Through open discussions about what is going on at home or at school, they can learn to express their struggles. Sometimes there are actions parents can take to help improve the situation, and at other times, it will be about listening and offering support and comfort.
In other cases, a child may struggle at school, because their brain works differently to others. Every child has strengths and weaknesses and by understanding their brain, the right support can be put in place to help their learning. Psychologists, like those at Ububele, do psycho-educational assessments to understand a child’s abilities and to make recommendations for their learning. Remember, the sooner their difficulty is discovered, the sooner they can receive the right support to flourish.
Written by Rosemary Picas,
an Ububele Counselling