Parents often overwhelm children with educational activities with the desire to provide the child with all the opportunities they did not have. While this perfectly understandable drive of parents can be motivational and inspiring for children, it can also cause terrible anxiety and stress.
Registering your child in extra-curricular activities besides school time such as sports, private tutoring, musical lessons, and trips can lead the child to burnout, especially if you limit access to rewards, or relaxing activities, like seeing his friends, or playing games depending on the performance at school. This sort of reward system has to be carefully managed. One extra-curricular activity that parents hurry their children to is additional tutoring.
Tutoring can become a stressful factor for children, especially if they feel overwhelmed by the accumulation of activities or tasks.
What Causes Tutoring Anxiety?
While a study from Stanford Children’s Help Hospital shows that tutoring has actually decreased anxiety towards math in children, tutoring, in general, can be perceived by children as another forced activity. There are certain factors that could induce this anxiety towards tutoring in children from tiredness to lack of motivation or learning with the wrong tutor.
Causes And Solutions To Tutoring Anxiety
Just as parents can have an 8h (at least) work day, children have the same schedule for their job – studying. Then, they come back from school and have to do homework. Data show that children spend an average of 8 – 10 hours at school, 2 hours on homework, 1-2 hours commuting from school to home and extra 2-3 hours for extra activities including tutoring. That’s an accumulation of at least 13 hours spent per day for educational purposes. That’s 13 hours of a workday for children during which they are required to use their brains at full capacity. In fact, fatigue is strongly related to anxiety; often children can feel stressed and overwhelmed when attending tutoring lessons.
Solution: Reduce mental activities, and increase physical activities. Elaborate a daily schedule during which the child can take a powering-up nap, and eat properly, without hurrying.
Children are sponges of emotions and attitudes. They are highly empathetic, so they will react immediately to an unsuited tutor. Just like for a successful movie, there has to be a compatible cast, for a successful educational experience, the child has to feel comfortable and trusting in the tutor. If your child shows alert signs in regards to an educator, it’s best to look into the issue. Maybe the educator is a bit more authoritative, and the child needs a more supportive teacher.
Solution: Make sure the child doesn’t feel nervous around the tutor. Let the child have a saying in picking their tutor.
- Lack of motivation
Tightly connected with the above points, the lack of motivation can be triggered by fatigue or feeling nervous toward the tutor. However, lack of motivation can also have underlining causes such as medical conditions, depression, or lack of certain skills.
Solution: Communicate with your child without jumping to conclusions or judging your child. Don’t emit criticism like: “you’re lazy” as that can deepen the lack of motivation. If you notice that the lack of motivation goes on for a longer period of time, it’s a good idea to consult a therapist.
- Lack of interest
Talents and predispositions come in various forms and degrees. Not all children will be mathematicians, not all children will be literary critics, artists, or engineers. If a child is lagging behind in a certain discipline, it could mean that the child is not interested or passionate about that particular subject.
Nowadays, there is an expanding negative attitude towards certain disciplines that even parents promote. Attitudes like “why would you learn history since it won’t help you do anything practical in the future” are wrong because each discipline establishes a foundation for common knowledge.
For example, learning history will help the child understand the socio-political tensions or ideologies currently happening in the world. Mathematics, for instance, develops strategic and critical thinking, or spatial vision besides teaching the child algebraic and geometrical notions.
Solution: Help the child understand the usefulness of the discipline he is not interested in. Nurture a positive attitude towards acquiring knowledge.
Misplacing the issue
In the tutoring experience, educators often stumble upon parents that want their children to excel or improve their skills, regardless of what the child wants. Often, parents might consider their child weak at mathematics, but the child might actually have a slow learning process.
Thus, placing this label of “weak at maths” might discourage any effort in learning mathematics. Besides the child’s demotivation or lack of skill in a subject, there are also certain outer factors that can hinder the child’s learning experience such as classroom competition, or classroom teaching method. Math tutoring can be a solution to classroom problems or lack of skills when the cause is openly understood and accepted by both, parents and children.
Solution: Identify the cause of learning problems together with the child, and openly communicate with the tutor on this subject. Tutors are psycho-pedagogical educators, so they also have to integrate psychological methods into teaching.
At the Online Math Center…
Our math tutors haven’t forgotten the challenges they faced as students, so they are focused on providing a holistic approach to teaching mathematics. Be it individual tutoring, or group tutoring, the OMC offers various programs that can suit your child’s educational needs. Reach out to us and let’s address the challenges your child faces when learning mathematics.