Help the children with homework or before class work? What is well meant can be badly done. “Many studies show that learning aids from parents can be harmful,” says Fabian Grolimund. The psychologist and founder of the Swiss Academy for Learning Coaching explains with motivational psychologist and advisor Martin Krengel what parents should pay attention to.
Fabian Grolimund knows from everyday life that learning together in families is often a problem. “When I ask in my parenting courses who regularly has conflicts with the children while learning, half of the participants put their hands up.” Conflicts lead to resistance and rejection, learning is stored negatively. Martin Krengel therefore pleads for a new understanding of roles: Parents should see themselves neither as drivers nor as critics, but as facilitators of learning. It’s about motivation, interest and positive attention.
Fabian Grolimund recommends limiting disputes. Parents should listen to their children’s “moaning”, but after a short time stop with words like “Now it’s going to be unproductive, call me when we can go on”. Anyone who fights against conflicts or engages in long discussions is lost. Grolimund: “The rule should apply: We are happy to help, but only if you accept help. Homework is not worth the breakdown of relationships between parents and children. “
The right place
The desk in the nursery could “be an anchor”, says Martin Krengel – “a place where children are used to learning”. However, learning locations should not be prescribed. “It can motivate when children and parents are in the same room together.” While the child is learning, the mother or father could do something else, but be approachable. Fabian Grolimund says: “Many children prefer to study at the kitchen or living room table. They have fewer problems with tasks than with being alone. ”Active children should be able to move around while they are studying.
Parents should watch their children and see what suits them. “Some children do their homework or practice right after school, others need a longer break and are fit again before dinner,” says Fabian Grolimund. Intervention is particularly required when children are constantly dawdling or learning without a structure.
“After a healthy dose, it should be over, everything else will no longer help,” says Martin Krengel. The demands of the parents should not be too high. In order to consolidate what you have learned, regular breaks are important, after 20 to 25 minutes. Children should move around during the breaks, but should not take in any further information. “It’s bad when children drop by on Facebook,” says Martin Krengel. What has just been learned is overwritten by emotionally charged stimuli.
Style and methodology
Fabian Grolimund and Martin Krengel advise you to be more interested in content than in performance and to ask open questions. What? How? Why? This encourages students to structure learning content and repeat it in their own words. “In the event of problems, parents should work out solutions together based on the lesson content, instead of offering additional explanations,” advises Grolimund. Own explanations led to confusion and endangered success. Both experts advocate creativity and the joy of experimentation: “Parents should recognize and use strengths,” says Martin Krengel. You could act out what you have learned, repeat it or have it drawn in pictures. This promotes the desire to learn and the depth of learning. “Anyone who represents ten words in one picture learns information about the surroundings, which are stored networked in the brain. That can help avoid blackouts. “
Regular, even shorter learning intervals instead of long drills just before class work. “Unknown information to which students have little reference has to be repeated up to six times before it is transferred to long-term memory,” says Martin Krengel. Doing tight repetitions 20 minutes before bed is good for retention. Fabian Grolimund urgently advises parents to encourage independence. “You should pay attention, praise, or smile to children even when they are doing tasks on their own.”