Five Guidelines for Being Your Child’s Best Tutor

September 20, 2018
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All-Around Pinay Mama blog, SJ Valdez, Education, Child Care, The Teacher in Me, Guest Post, Five Guidelines for Being Your Child’s Best Tutor, Teaching,

Oftentimes, parents won’t think about tutoring their children on academic subjects until they’re already behind.

And while it’s never too late to help your child, you’ll have much more success if you don’t have to start from square one – that is, learning how to tutor in the first place.

Using the following guidelines, you can put yourself in a good position to help your child stay on top of things even before they’re struggling.

Be their tutor, but remain their parent.

Tutoring is different from parenting, and that makes it crucial that these roles are very distinct in both your mind and your child’s.

There are two main ways this can go wrong, the first being that you act too much like their parent while you’re tutoring them – and the other that you become more critical and tutor-like when you’re not.

Thus, it’s very important that your child understands – even as you tutor them – that you love them unconditionally, whether they seem to be understanding the material or not.

But they also should know that, as their tutor, you can’t just give them the answers – you have to let them struggle (even more so than you might as a parent) and learn through their mistakes.

Make sure you know the subject well.

It’s very possible that you’ll relate to your child’s struggles with maths, writing, or similar – precisely because you struggled or still struggle with the same things.

That’s why it’s very important that you have a strong, foundational grasp on the subject or subjects they’re struggling with.

After all, can you truly help them with maths if you never got past some of the major pitfalls yourself?

Sure, you can help them solve problems on their homework, but tutoring is more involved than just providing homework answers.

Good tutors must know the ins and outs of the subject they’re teaching – the fundamental concepts, where students often go wrong – or else they’re doing little more than just helping with homework and not helping their students learn.

Consult their teacher first, if you can.

It’s impossible to overstate the value of parent-teacher interviews, especially if your child is struggling academically with one or more subjects.

The information you can get on your child’s education is invaluable, not least because you generally can’t get much objective insight from your child’s responses to questions like “How was your day at school?”

Upon meeting with your child’s teacher, you’ll more fully understand what subjects they’re struggling with – and maybe even the specific concepts that they haven’t completely mastered yet, causing them to fall behind.

Parent-teacher interviews are almost always too brief, but if you know how to make the most of that time by asking the right questions, they can help you be a very effective tutor.

Use their interests to motivate them.

All-Around Pinay Mama blog, SJ Valdez, Education, Child Care, The Teacher in Me, Guest Post, Five Guidelines for Being Your Child’s Best Tutor, Teaching,

No matter what the subject, there should always be some way to tie the concepts back to things that your child cares about – and that’s important to help them learn.

A simple example for younger children: Using toys – cars, marbles, doll clothing – to practice counting and simple maths concepts like addition and subtraction.

For older children, you might show how these subjects relate to real-life responsibilities – paying taxes, budgeting – as these are things they should know they’ll have to do when they get older.

Of course, the better you know your child and the more imaginative you are, the more effective this can be – so listen to them and get creative.

Communicate – by instructing and by listening.

The most vital tip to being an effective tutor for your child is to communicate with them. Tutors must be able to communicate well with parents to update them on their child’s progress, of course.

But they also must be able to communicate well with the child – not just by giving clear instructions and specific, actionable feedback, but also by listening to them.

You might think you know how your child likes to learn, but your understanding could turn out to be wrong – so if they’re getting frustrated, pay attention to this and adjust accordingly.

As long as you’re communicating with your child and following these guidelines, you should be able to help your child improve in no time.

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