Term 1 Check-In: How Are Your Kids Trekking & How Can Parents Help?

March 28, 2024 BY

The term 1 holidays give parents a great chance to check in on their children's wellbeing

As the first term of the academic year comes to an end, it’s time for parents to pause and reflect on their children’s journey so far. From their academic milestones to their social adventures, think about all the growth they’ve made over the term. Whether your child is in their first year or two of primary school, or has recently begun secondary education, taking some time out to check-in with your child can set them up for success for the rest of the year.

In this article, we’ll explore how to establish communication channels with your kids, knowing when to seek external guidance such as through positive behavioural support, uncover strategies for providing help, and encourage healthy communication

How to encourage your child to open up more

Before you get stuck into Easter school holiday activities, the first thing to consider when reflecting back on the term is establishing how your child feels about it. It can be difficult for children to open up about their emotions and challenges they’ve faced if they haven’t built up the confidence or vocabulary to do so. This is why it’s vital to encourage an open dialogue about emotions and experiences, aiding you in being well informed about your child’s perspective and allowing you to be proactive about potential issues. 

The best way to encourage your child to open up is to show them they can feel safe around you. By sharing your own feelings openly they’ll start to feel more comfortable in doing so themselves. Remember to be patient. If you try to force your kid to open up when they don’t want to, they may feel unsafe expressing their genuine emotions, as their discomfort is being disregarded.

Active listening

If your child does open up, be receptive to what they have to say, by giving your full attention and avoiding interrupting them. Ask open-ended questions starting with “how” and “why”. When they have expressed how they feel, validate their feelings without judgement.  Try to relate to them by sharing your own experiences, being careful not to swamp their experiences with your own. 

Make sure to emphasise that their feelings are important and understood, so they continue to feel able to share in the future. Sometimes your child may seek solutions to a problem, sometimes they will just want to feel heard. Establish the difference by clarifying if they want you to help, or just to listen, and judge when it’s time for you to step in.

Checking in on social and emotional wellbeing 

While some parents may be tempted to check in with academic progress first, it’s equally important to check how your kids are developing emotionally and socially. This may help you understand possible issues when assessing academic challenges, and help you become more empathetic to your kids’ personal challenges.

If there have been improvements in social and emotional wellbeing over the term, make sure to celebrate these successes. This will help improve your child’s self confidence and make them feel more ready to take on the challenges of next term.

When to consider providing extra support

Think about any changes in behaviour or mood, and identify potential sources of stress for your child. When you have identified some challenges, you can consider starting to use strategies to foster resilience. Try to help your child focus on their strengths rather than their weaknesses. Help them understand that mistakes are good and part of the learning process with positive reinforcement. Helping to encourage a mindset that setbacks are opportunities for growth rather than failures helps them build resilience and a positive attitude when faced with a big obstacle. 

With all that said, sometimes this is not enough to correct problematic behaviour or overcome challenging circumstances, and external help is needed. Positive behavioural support is a service that aims to enhance children’s development by using these techniques enforced by clinical psychologists, linguists and counsellors. If your child is having difficulties adjusting to a new school, or struggling to fit into classroom expectations, this may be a valuable avenue worth exploring.

What to do if my kid is struggling academically?

When you’ve identified academic pitfalls with your child, it can sometimes be difficult to stop your role as a parent from becoming a teacher. However, you can still help your child without stepping too far into the teacher category. Some of the most common issues that cause children to struggle academically are time management, concentration and motivation issues.

It is important to identify why your child is having these issues before trying to solve them. For example, if your child is having trouble with concentration because of a busy household, try to create a space for them to study that has minimised distractions such as noise or lots of interruptions. If they are having study time, try to avoid checking in too often as it may distract them and make them feel anxious. Rather, check in on their workload every so often to see how they’re progressing, and let them know you are there to support, not monitor or punish.

Proactive steps to tackling academic challenges

If you think your kid struggles with time management or motivation, it may be beneficial to help them create a daily or weekly schedule that they can follow. To help with a sense of accountability it will help if they create it, so it feels achievable for them, and more like self-set goals rather than being told what to do. 

The next step is to help your kid break down big tasks into smaller tasks that can be timed. This can be implemented by setting timers for focused work periods with short breaks that implement positive reinforcement for completion. 

If your child is unsure of where to start and procrastinating tasks or homework, it can help to encourage them to prioritise their tasks from most to least important and to either do the hardest task first to get it out of the way or easier, shorter tasks to help build up momentum, confidence and concentration for bigger pieces. 

If you try all these techniques and are not seeing much improvement, it may be time to bring in a tutor, ask teachers for advice and insight, or seek external help to assess if something deeper is going on that is causing difficulties, such as ADHD or learning disabilities. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, we are all human and can’t do everything for everyone.

So there you have our top tips for checking in on your kid after their first term of the year, and on how to prepare for the remaining terms ahead. Hopefully you’ll now feel more confident in encouraging open communication and approaching potential social, emotional or academic issues with your child, to collaboratively work through them. 


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