Updated: Nov 16
Winter finals are upon us. Students are preparing for exams, writing papers and completing projects. Santa has taken a back seat to the excitement of 2020 ending, (At last!) and is creating that feeling of being d.o.n.e. Students are mentally checking out like they do when Spring heats up. So, how do you keep your student focused and engaged in learning, to get those good grades?
Acknowledge what your student is going through. Finals can be rough. There is a load of work to be done in a short period of time. If your student has not been organized this semester, there may be even more study preparation in store for them to get the grade. Letting your kids know you are aware of what is going on in their world, may be just what your student requires.
Ask a question that elicits more than just a yes/no response. Offer up warm, nurturing options as a way of reminding them you are in their corner. Whatever you do, please do not tell them to let you help. This takes away their confidence because the message is received as, “Here, let me do it because you are doing it wrong.” I know you don’t intend this, but this is what kids hear. If I had a nickel for every time one of my clients tells me this…
Allow your student to say no to you. This is their journey and they may wish to do it on their own; even if it means they do not earn the grades you want them to get. At the risk of repeating myself, helping students is often interpreted by kids as, “Mom and Dad don’t believe in me.” This message leaves a far deeper wound with kids than a poor test result. Students can learn from a bad grade. As a kid, it’s a bit trickier to learn from feeling like your parents don’t believe in you.
What is the practical application for these pragmatic tools, you ask? Some examples to consider: “I noticed you have four finals this year. What can I do to support you? Need some snacks?” or, “I can see you are working very hard on your final project. Need me to do anything for you? I’ve got my crayons ready.” Have fun with what you offer. Laughter lightens the load. The message received is, “Mom and Dad are weird, but they love me.” Take that as a win, Parents.
Finally, avoid the wait-and-see-approach to their grades before praising them for a job well done. If your student has put in the work studying, then let them know how proud you are of them, BEFORE the grades come out. This reinforces the idea that dedication, organization, preparation and perseverance are excellent characteristics that lead to success.
It’s really that easy, Parents. Acknowledge. Ask. Allow. And, watch your family’s dynamic shift.