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As parents, we would naturally hope that our child is special and a little more advanced than his or her peers. It is normal for us to want to see our child advance further from the very first time he or she says her first word to being able to recognise numbers and eventually recite mental sums or read a storybook unaided.

As Toru Kumon once said, “Every child is a gifted child” – Thus, it’s not about stricter parenting or flashcards, but to firstly understand that every child possesses their own potential. Unlocking their limitless potentials would then set them on a journey to life-long learning.

How can we help our child identify these potentials, and more importantly, help them attain it?

Know your child

Observe your child. Understand their natural strengths, likes and dislikes. One crucial step is to not make an assumption merely based on school grades but rather, study patterns. Speaking to your child would also provide you with better understanding about their worries, struggles and what frustrates them especially in learning. Discuss these observations with your child’s teachers or instructors and then strategise the best way in which you or the teacher can assist your child. Initiating such conversations with your child would not only help identify the root of the problem, but also build a stronger bond between you and your child, providing your child the assurance that he or she can come to you to express such concerns.

Set the pace

Every child is unique and a ‘one size fits all’ lesson plan would not be applicable to help your child achieve their fullest potential. One of the key aspects that Kumon emphasises is to ensure a child is learning at his or her comfortable pace and level of learning or what we would call the ‘just right level’. This learning method would help alleviate unnecessary stress or pressure having to conform to a pace or a level that may be too challenging for the child at a given time.

Discuss with your child’s instructor and identify a realistic goal for your child. Communicate these goals with your child and work closely with your child to achieve these milestones. The learning journey should be enjoyable and not one that your child dreads.

Power of Praise

Praises and words of encouragement does more than just make your child feel good about themselves but also boost their self-esteem and confidence level. Praise is a form of validation for your child to know how to think and act positively about himself. However, praise is only effective when implemented in a timely manner, with a clear, valid reason that your child sees. Thus, it is important to effectively communicate with your child on your reasoning, ensuring that a praise reinforces this good behaviour.

It is equally important for parents and instructors to flag out issues, and provide feedback when a child is underperforming. Similar with praises, such constructive comments should be specific for your child to have a better understanding and reiterate the expectation that you had.

It’s a journey together

Helping your child achieve his or her fullest potential isn’t just a role for the educators. It’s a journey together and parents play an important role in this journey. Take part in your child’s day-to-day activities, likes and dislikes from selecting toys, educational games and resources. One good method would be to initiate a reading time together. Pick out a book for the month and set aside some time each week with your child to read the book together. Why not visit Kumon’s Recommended Reading List with over 380 books of various genres, suitable for children of all ages.

Get Help

While exceling in school is every parent’s hope for their child, it is important to understand that every child learns at his or her own pace. More importantly, at the level that is just right for him and a study plan that not only assists him academically but to also instill critical life skills to better prepare him for the future.

At Kumon, we believe that holistic learning at the right pace will promote a joy of learning in children. The Kumon Method or self-learning method encourages students to learn independently at the right level as observed and advised by his or her Kumon instructor. Here, our students also equip themselves with critical life skills such as discipline, perseverance, determination and confidence.

To know more about Kumon Malaysia and the nearest centre to you, get in touch with us here.