a rewarded child after she has completed tutoring classes

Is your child hesitant or even resistant to attend tutoring? This is normal and universal behaviour, parents need to know and understand that. The thing to bear in mind is children can’t always see the end goal as clearly as you, the parent, can. Any new experience is just that, new! It may feel strange, they don’t know what to expect, what the result will be, or even what the purpose of it is. Everyone will have tried bribery, punishments etc at some point, but if this is still not helping then what else can you try?

Whether your child is attending tutoring for the first time or they are regulars, here are 6 tips for you to implement.

1 – Preparation for tutoring

A lot of anxiety can be addressed through preparation – something to keep in mind for every aspect of your child’s life. Either the night before or the day of their tutoring class walk them through what they need to be ready:

  • Do you have your completed homework in your bag?
  • Have you got sharpened pencils and rubbers?

Then confirm with your child the time they go to tutoring, what time they finish and who will be there to collect them. This way they know how long their class is and who to expect.

2 – Praise your child

The best times to praise your child are either during your preparation time or just before you drop them off for class. Your child must know that whatever happens in the class, you are proud of them, believe in them and that you are there no matter what happens. This gives your child a sense of security and a little confidence boost. Tutoring is an additional activity your child participates in, we all want to make sure they feel confident about the process.

We also have some tips on how to raise mentally strong children. 

3 – Prize system

This one could be misconstrued as bribery. The difference is, is that a reward system happens consistently and has very clear boundaries, whereas bribery can be a spontaneous response to just needing to complete something that may have other consequences. It is important to use the right language when creating a reward system, always use the word “when” rather than “if”. “If” allows doubt to creep into your child’s mind, “When” is definite.

Here is a guideline for creating a reward system:

  • Reward your child with something that provides:
    • Short-term satisfaction – creates a heightened need for your child to attend class.
    • Easy for you to provide – doesn’t take much effort from you, so you can maintain consistency
    • Ultimately something your child wants!
    • This could be their favourite takeaway food when they have finished class, their favourite lollipop, or 30 minutes on the iPad after dinner.
  • Reward guidelines:
    • Clear
    • Easy to measure
    • Attainable
    • For example, Your child receives their reward when they have completed their work during class time.
  • You could then provide a GRAND Reward!
    • In consultation with your tutor, you could then offer your child a Grand Reward for reaching a long-term goal.

A reward system also ensures EVERYONE is clear about what goal is trying to be achieved. Without a goal, there’s no direction. By rewarding your child, you do so for the short-term effort and finally for the long-term effort. Your child will begin to appreciate the purpose of long-term tutoring.

4 – Post-tutoring Plan

If your child knows what time their class finishes and the routine they will have after class, it can make the whole day feel a lot less daunting. They’ll know what to expect and feel mentally prepared for it. They won’t be able to argue with you because everything is planned and they just need to follow the plan. Laying out the plan by time helps your child to keep track of what they are doing and take responsibility for their actions.

You could lay it out for them like this or chunk it up:

  • At 4 pm you finish tutoring. I will be there to pick you up from the reception
  • When you have completed your work and your class is done, you’ll also receive your reward
  • We then drive home and you can work on your school homework until 5 pm.
  • At 5 pm, help me to lay the table for dinner and you can have free time.
  • 6 pm we have dinner all together
  • 6.30 pm help me to tidy up the kitchen then shower time and prepare for bed by 8.30 pm.

Here are some additional tips for developing good study habits.

5 – Pass On the info

If you have created a reward system with your child, communicate this to your tutor so that they can support you with this. It’s also important to provide your child with an “Out Policy” to use in specific circumstances – no one wants to be forced to do something when they don’t want to or can’t. 

The Out Policy is a useful tool to maintain healthy, positive relationships:

  • Have a signal word your child uses when things feel too much for them:
    • This is a word your child can communicate to you or your tutor during class. The tutor needs to tell you if it has been used. This word allows them to stop what they are doing and have some time to regulate what they are feeling without any consequences. A safety net.
  • Also, have a signal word for when they’re feeling great!
    • Again, a word your child can communicate to you and the tutor that results in them receiving an additional reward for completing more work. Your child can do this because they are in the right headspace to try more.

It is important to remember that if your child has had to use one of the signal words, they still receive the reward you’ve agreed upon. Always reinforce that they turned up to the class and gave it their best effort, no matter what that effort looks like.

Sometimes it is hard to know if your child is feeling anxious, here are some things they might say. 

6 – Promise

Always do your best to stick to your word with your child. If your child is struggling with going to classes and you then can’t reward them as you have agreed to, your child will want to go even less. Nothing is perfect, remember to include your child in the issue you’re facing right then that might mean you can’t fulfil your end of the bargain right now.

For example, I’ve run out of lollipops to give you after class. But I need to stop by the supermarket for some groceries, would you like something else today instead? Until I can get you the lollipops you like.