Why is my child struggling to learn to read? What can I do to help them?
Every child is different and learn to do things at different rates. We all know this don’t we? Some may walk at 12 months whilst others may walk at 16 months. They may speak their first words at 9 months or they may not utter anything until they are 14 months. With this in mind, why do parents worry so much about what reading level their child is on? Why do many parents put such importance on learning to read at a very early age? Why do some parents focus on this one aspect of their child’s learning?
I often get asked for advice about the children of people I know. Maybe because I’m a teacher and a mum, people feel that I have more experience than they do. People often just want to know if their child is “normal”. People just want to see if what they are experiencing is explainable or ordinary. It’s so tricky being a parent isn’t it? We often are experiencing something with our children for the first time. Looking up things on the internet can often label it to be “a thing” and that is terrifying. Some parents want their child to be gifted or talented but the majority just want their children to be a typical child for their age. Unfortunately, some just aren’t but that’s ok too.
I suppose working with children, I have seen hundreds of children between the ages of 2 and 8 years old so I don’t bat an eyelid if they bite, punch, kick, eat crayons, twirl or smear poo. It’s kinda within the everyday, typical stuff that I deal with! But the ordinary things can be a worry and on occasion, can develop into behaviours that are not within the typical range.
But how do we know when to worry?
My advice is always the same:
Every child has quirks, just some more than others. Accept them for who they are unless their quirks are affecting others or their own happiness/development.
Children display different behaviours and emotions sometimes, just like adults. It may be a phase. Displays of emotion such as anger, is normal behaviour. Unfortunately some children are just more emotional than others and may need more of a structure to help them deal with them.
Children learn and change at different rates. Try not to compare them to others.
Don’t always listen to the well-meaning advice of the older generation.
Listen to the professionals such as your child’s teachers and really hear what they are saying. It may be that you are not ready to listen, but you should.
Pre-schoolers (3-4 years old) should want to be sociable and should want to show you what interests them and engage with others.
Pre-schoolers should play with toys in an imaginative way. E.g babies are fed, passengers can get onto trains.
All children should want to communicate with you from a very early age.
Your child should make progress in each school year but sometimes it may be more rapid than at other times. Learning does not happen at a continuous and at the same rate so don’t worry if your child makes rapid progress in Reception but this progress slows in year one.
If you are still worried, go and see your GP, Health visitor or child’s teacher. They really won’t mind.
If your child has been given a diagnosis of something scary, they are still the same child you love. Try to remember this.
If your child has a barrier to learning such as autism, do your research on how to help them and fight for them. No one else will.
Have a great day and keep your child close. x
OH THE JOYS OF LIVING IN THE OLD HOUSE IN THE SHIRES.