Tutoring your own child is not a job for everybody. But if you’re committed to trying it, these ideas can help.
Open the lines of communication. Point out that you know your child is doing fine in, say, simple equations—but that the teacher says he needs help in graphing. Say you want to help and ask if that’s OK.
Sit next to your child rather than across from him. It’s easier for you to see the lessons, and the closeness encourages a friendlier relationship.
Give directions slowly and clearly. Your child’s difficulty may not be with the subject matter but rather with following directions.
Work through one step, and one problem, at a time. This keeps your child’s attention on the work and allows you to see where the difficulties lie.
Look at each other when you talk. It’s easier to see confusion than it is to hear it.
Don’t skip problems. You want your child to develop the habit of confronting challenges.
Don’t get discouraged and react when your child does. A child’s reaction is often based on a fear of not being able to do the work and disappointing his parent.
Minimize the use of negative phrases such as “That’s wrong.” Just restate the question and give your child more clues to help him get the answer.
Try to have some fun! Gentle teasing and puns can make the job a lot more enjoyable for both of you.
Remember these three goals: You want to offer help, increase your child’s sense of capability, and preserve your relationship with your child.
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