If your child is having a rough time in school, it may be time to hire a tutor. One of the most difficult things about hiring a tutor (besides finding the right fit for your child) is convincing your child that there is nothing to feel bad about. It is not unusual for a young student to feel that needing a tutor is something to feel embarrassed about or ashamed of . . . while that's certainly the last thing on your mind. So how do you give children the benefit of a tutor and protect their self esteem at the same time? Here are some tips for how to talk to your child about tutoring:
Share your own story. Chances are that you, yourself, had some difficulties getting through parts of school while growing up. Make it a point to relate to your child on a personal level, and share any experiences you had as a child that might help your own child feel not so alone (and not judged).
Focus on the positives. Explain the benefits of having a tutor, and steer clear of including any negatives in your explanation. For example, instead of saying, “You aren't bringing home the kind of grades that I know you can,” say something like, “A tutor is a great way for you to score those high grades I know you are capable of.”
Information will cure fear. It's likely that your child doesn't know a whole lot about tutoring and what it entails. This can be a great source of anxiety, especially for children who might have a negative concept of tutors. Sit with your child and read some books that illustrate good examples of tutoring experiences, or browse the web for information about the tutoring process, in order to set your child's mind at ease and get him or her a little more comfortable with the idea.
Set goals. It may even be possible to get your child excited about tutoring if the two of you work out some realistic goals to accomplish with the tutor's help. Of course, the most immediate goals will be based on school performance, but there should definitely be some other reward at the end. For example, if your child has been disqualified from a team sport for inadequate grades, then a great goal would be to be able to try out for that team at the beginning of next season.
As you can see, there are some very practical ways you can approach the subject of tutoring with your child. Follow these tips to ease tensions about tutoring.
About the Author: Jake Saechao works with elementary students who need tutoring in math and other subjects. He finds that it is always easier to work with a child who is expecting tutoring than one who is feeling forced. Be open with your children and they'll have more respect for your decisions!