- Dr. Sapna Sharma
- 01 February 2019
How much should the children study and at what age should they be becoming serious about studies is a frequent question? Interestingly the age at which parents are becoming concerned about children’s attitude towards studies is decreasing day by day. So what should we be concerned about is, children’s disinterest in studies or parents’ over concern?
A concerned mother sent me similar query about her children aged 10 and 13. First of all I would not like to take them in the same group and discuss them together. A 10 year old is merely in class 5 while a 13 year old has already entered the high school and there needs to be a lot of difference in our concern about their studies.
As a generation of over anxious parents we need to understand that studies, the way they are presented to the children, are inherently boring. Our education system insists on adding volumes every year while not doing anything to ensure the clarity of concepts or relevance to the real life. Most teachers are not ‘born to teach’ kind of so they focus on completion of the syllabus rather than helping the children develop interest in a particular subject or the studies. Eventually what studies mean to most students is a means to pass some painful exams. And that certainly is not interesting even for an adult.
If we take the above fact into consideration, we as parents may understand, at least to some extent, why the children avoid studies and postpone them to the last minute. This awareness would also give us some motivation to be innovative about how we present the concept of studies to our children.
Some of the few basic factors to remember here are:
Children do not enjoy doing anything alone
. Even expensive games are left untouched if they are left to play with them. Hence, try to give study partners to the children wherever you find them lacking in interest. These can be home tutors. The advantage is that there is the interaction that makes the whole process less boring. Also children develop a habit of sitting down for studies regularly and at the same time, which is a very good habit for the future. Remember the role of home tutors is not just of teaching. So if you hire a tutor for writing practice or regularity or concept clearing, you need to let the tutor know so right at the beginning and also need to monitor it from time to time.
Children need consistency. Busy parents do not always sit with children the same time every day for studies and they want to go by their availability which eventually makes the children loose the importance of the process. So, if you are too busy or if the child is not responding to you positively, getting a home tutor can make a big difference.
Have a casual discussion about studies with children asking them which subjects they like and which ones they hate particularly and why. An educated parent can teach any child up to class 7 in the least. If you see that your child is struggling with something in particular try to find some important facts about that particular topic using the internet and present it to the child in an interesting format. This is particularly helpful for subjects that children find boring like history, Geography, physics, chemistry.
For math, especially with high school students, if they have not developed clear concepts during middle school, they end up fearing the subject. It is best to test the child with few basic calculations of fractions and equations and if not satisfactory at least one hour a day should be spent in making them practice basic calculations. I have personally observed a shift in their interest towards the positive just in a month’s time.
The most important factor here to be remembered by the parents is that just because the children are going to the school does not mean all of them should be interested in studies. Each child is different. Their understanding and logic about the importance of studies is different. Forcing them is going to work less and less with every new generation. They do not respond to compulsions and to your all-time statement “because I told you so”.
Also know that each of your child is different. What works for one may not work for the other. Schools have a mass training system. Children usually are not given individual attention. So it is up to the parents to understand the unique learning style, challenges and motivation of their child and help accordingly.