Your child may feel so overwhelmed staring at a blank sheet of paper or at a chapter in the textbook he's supposed to read that he just doesn't know where to start. Teach your child study skills and also how to explain his learning difficulties so others will understand what he needs and how he learns.
What your child may be trying to tell you
- I feel overwhelmed.
- I'm not being challenged.
- I feel misunderstood.
- It's difficult for me to ask for help.
- I don't have confidence in my abilities.
How you can respond
- Teach your child how to advocate for himself.
- Help your child recognize that it takes practice to master any skill.
- Try to determine if an assignment is appropriate for your child.
- Work with your child to break his assignments into smaller, more manageable parts.
- Help your child get organized.
Encourage the child who struggles
Teach your child how to advocate for himself
Explain his learning difficulty to him so he can explain it to others. Not only should he understand the nature of his problem, but also the types of accommodations and modifications that are most effective for him. Teach him to ask for what he needs, including help. Reassure him that knowing when, who, and how to ask for help are signs of independence and maturity and demonstrates to others that he is serious about his learning.
Help your child recognize that it takes practice to master any skill
Sometimes your child may prefer not to try than to risk failing or looking stupid. Help him think of skills he had to practice in order to learn. Give him examples of skills that you are practicing, but still haven't mastered yet.
Try to determine if an assignment is appropriate for your child
Work with your child and his teacher to find a balance in his work so it is challenging but not frustrating. It is helpful to share your observations with his teacher because sometimes students can be successful with assignments at school but then have trouble transferring the new skills at home. It is equally important that he feel intellectually stimulated and that his assignments are meaningful. Genuine learning doesn't take place when a child is given unrealistic expectations or busywork.
Work with your child to break his assignments into smaller, more manageable parts
Help your child devise a plan for his writing, show him how the information in textbooks is organized and broken up by headings, or have him complete some of his math problems and then take a break before completing the others. By achieving little goals along the way he will be more likely to complete entire assignments.
Help your child get organized
Many children with learning differences have difficulty with organization and time management. Help your child organize a suitable workspace that is dedicated to completing homework. Work together to determine a schedule for when he will work on his assignments. Help him keep his backpack and notebooks organized.