Are you a parent who eagerly awaits your child's end-of-year report? Do you quickly scan for potential concerns, as long as their effort is reasonable and homework is complete?
Beyond the grades and achievements, this report holds the key to fostering a deeper understanding of your child's journey, nurturing their strengths, and addressing areas that may require additional support.
The importance of having a meaningful conversation with them goes beyond just character-building. It presents a valuable opportunity to strengthen your relationship, gain insight into their thoughts, and discuss their academic progress. This discussion sets the foundation for planning for their future success:
Set the mood
Setting the mood is essential for serious conversations with children or adults.
Be specific: Tell your child that you want to review their End-Of School Report with them and that you want to hear their comments.
Set up an appointment: This gives your child a choice and indicates that you involve them in this decision.
Location: Agree with your child a quiet and comfortable space where you can have an uninterrupted conversation.
Are you ready to listen?
Ensure that your schedule allows for uninterrupted time with your child.
Turn your mobile off.
Tell your child they have your full attention and you are actively listening to their responses. This comment may surprise them and be a new development in their relationship with you.
Avoid interrupting or jumping to conclusions.
Allow them to express their thoughts and feelings fully.
Creating your questions:
Avoid asking simple "yes" or "no" questions. Ask open-ended questions encouraging your child to share their thoughts and feelings. For example, ask, "How do you feel about your end-of-year report?" or "What do you think went well this year, and what were some not-so-good results?"
Engage in a thought-provoking discussion with your child about the important role of a School Report. Discover how often it is shared throughout the year and the reasons behind its limited frequency.
Getting to the root of the conversation
These conversations can help you understand your child's thinking and how they understand their academic performance. It can be an opportunity to show your support and to provide encouragement or helpful guidance. Ask questions like, "What helped you succeed in this subject? What could have been done differently in areas where you struggled?"
Ask your child to reflect on their efforts, study habits, and engagement in school activities. Please encourage them to consider how their actions and choices influenced their academic performance. This self-reflection can help them take ownership of their learning and develop strategies for improvement as they get older.
Collaborate with your child to set realistic and achievable goals for the next school year. Discuss what they want to accomplish and work together to define clear objectives. If you both agree that summer tuition would be a benefit, then create a plan to achieve this and therefore reduce pressure at the beginning of the next school year.
Emphasize the importance of effort and the learning journey itself. Please remind your child of your learning journey, and that improvement takes time and dedication.
Ending the Conversation
Focus on learning and developing skills rather than solely on the grades or outcomes.
Finally, celebrate the areas where they have shown growth and improvement and the action you both identified to create positive change
in weaker skills.
Summarise your child's comments and what you have learnt from them.
Did you read this far? Congrats, if you did! I've included tips you can use throughout your child's formal education, from Reception to Further Education. Creating an open and supportive dialogue can help your child develop a positive mindset and know they have your active support.
Keep a journal of this conversation to review with your child following each report and to track outcomes.