Celebrate Your Child!

Whether your child is in traditional school or is homeschooled, here are some tips taken from the C.A.R.E.S. and F.I.T.T. principles from Discover Your Child's Learning Style, co-authored by Mariaemma Willis & Victoria Kindle Hodson:

1. Celebrate your child!
Please, please, remember to celebrate your children for who they are, NOT for the quality or quantity of their school work. Get into the habit of pointing out what is RIGHT about your children. Encourage them to pay attention to their own positive characteristics and actions, to their interests, talents, and accomplishments. Compare these two sets of comments:

When are you going to get it right?...Well, if there’s a way to mess it up you’ll find it...You’re so clumsy...I know you’ll lose it...You’ll probably forget like you always do...

Wow, thanks for remembering to pick that up...I noticed you put your ring in a safe place...Thanks for helping your brother...That was tricky but you managed to get it done...I admire your willingness to do a few math problems even though you really dislike math...

If children live with the first set of comments, it’s not a big surprise if they themselves say things like, I’m so clumsy...I’ll lose it for sure...I can’t do it...I never finish things, that’s just the way I am...

Children who live with the second set of comments learn to be confident and to pay attention to what they do right. You are liable to hear them say things like, Well, it’s hard but I can try it...Next time I’m going to do it this way...Maybe I can make a plan so that doesn’t happen again...I know I can do it...I did it!

2. Focus on solutions
Instead of blaming and punishing, form a team with your children and work together on solutions.

Here’s a typical monologue:
You forgot your homework again - what is wrong with you? Do you like getting bad grades? You’ll never get to college and you’ll never get anywhere in life with that attitude...etc.

How about changing this to:
I see you forgot your homework and you’re feeling frustrated about it. How about if we come up with a solution for remembering your homework?

Then brainstorm together, draw things out, use a white board, make a chart if this is helpful, etc.

3. Take the pressure off
Sometimes it’s appropriate to back off of something that is causing great upset, sadness, fear, and/or frustration. For example, if math is literally making your child sick, it’s time to talk to the teacher and come up with an alternate plan. If you are homeschooling, you can stop math for awhile. Continue to be in dialogue with your child so you can re-evaluate when it’s time to bring math back and in what format.

Remember, a person cannot learn when in a heightened emotional state - so if something is forced on a child when the child is upset, the brain will shut down and not much learning will take place anyway - plus the stage is set for a life-long belief that one “can’t do” the particular skill or subject.

To sum up:
Remember that school is not life. In the end, in the real world, it won’t matter whether your child conquered dangling participles or still doesn’t get Algebra...what will matter is whether your child believes in himself, whether she is confident about her own abilities and what she CAN do.

Be your children’s LearningSuccess™ Coaches and bring out the stars that are shining inside!

Author's Bio: 

Mariaemma is co-author of Discover Your Child's Learning Style & Midlife Crisis Begins in Kindergarten, and co-founder of LearningSuccess™ Institute, Ventura, CA. She is a California credentialed teacher with a Master’s Degree in Special Education, and is a consultant, speaker, and trainer, www.learningsuccessprofile.com