When a child is anxious about something, that thing becomes a chore, and it can quickly become something the child dreads doing. It can lead to contention at home and behavioral issues at school, because often the child doesn’t understand why she feels so bad. Anxiety is common in children, yet there is still a stigma that surrounds it in regards to kids that makes it difficult to talk about.
If your child is struggling when it comes to school work–specifically, reading–it’s time to learn the best ways you can help her succeed. Often, a parent might not even realize how much pressure is being put on the child, but the child will feel it, and it can affect many aspects of her life. It’s important to take a look at how you handle your child’s learning abilities–both her strengths and her weaknesses–and how the two of you can make it better.
Here are some of the best ways to help your child overcome her anxiety when it comes to reading.
It may seem easier to have a talk with your child’s teacher alone, but it’s important to include your child in conferences and allow her to hear the conversation. Find out whether she has any input as to what would help her be more successful at reading; it may be that there’s a bigger, unrelated issue–such as a bully, mid-day hunger, exhaustion, or vision troubles–underneath it all.
Play up her strengths
When your child feels like she’s failing at something, she likely feels like she’s failing you, too. Show her how proud you are when she succeeds in even the smallest reading-related task, and find ways to play up her strengths. For instance, if she’s a great artist, ask her to write a short story and illustrate it. Reading and writing go hand-in-hand and can help your child learn in a different way.
Set realistic goals
Every parent wants their child to be a quick learner so she doesn’t have to struggle, but the reality is, it takes time and patience to become a good reader. Set realistic goals for the both of you and celebrate every success, even the small ones.
Share reading time
Making reading fun is key, so set up a storytime every day. Read a book together before bed, or ask your child to read a short book aloud to you. Include some laughs by recording her using a voice-changing app on your phone and give her story new life by adding a robot or alien voice. If your child is struggling to read to adults in general, consider letting him or her read to a furry and non judgemental audience: your pets!
Let your child know she’s normal
One of the biggest worries many kids have when it comes to reading and learning is whether or not they’re normal. Comparing themselves to their peers is only natural, so let her know that it’s perfectly okay if she reads a little slowly, or if she has trouble sounding out some words. Everyone has something they need to work on a little more than other people.
Staying patient and celebrating your child’s successes are two of the biggest keys to her happiness, so make reading a quiet, stress-free time with no expectations or pressure. Give her all the tools she needs to be a great reader and soon, she’ll be right where she needs to be.
Written by Sara Bell