Eight ways to help your child cope with learning difficulties

Is your child struggling with a particular subject at school – or with school as a whole? Here are eight ways you can help them cope with learning difficulties.

Every year, thousands of children are diagnosed with learning difficulties – from dyslexia and dyspraxia, to ADHD and Aspergers. Thousands more struggle quietly without a formal diagnosis.

It can be frustrating and heart breaking if you’re a parent of a child with learning difficulties. It’s hard watching them struggle to keep up, experience negative emotions and lack of confidence as a result, and even act up at school and home, and feel helpless.

Eight ways to help your child cope with learning difficulties

But there’s plenty that you can do as a parent to support your child, and help them overcome some of their struggles – and even start enjoying learning again. Here are eight ways you can help your child cope with learning difficulties.

1) Hire a home tutor

Children with learning difficulties have been shown to flourish with individual support – something that teachers are unable to offer in many schools. And, as keen as you are to help your child overcome any struggles, unless you are professionally trained, it’s unlikely you’ll be as affective as a qualified tutor.

So your first step in helping your child may be to hire a home tutor. If you don’t have a personal recommendation from someone you trust, you can use a tutor-finding platform like Teachers To Your Home to search for recommended home tutors in your area.

2) Dedicate one hour a day to extra study

Sometimes simply spending a little longer on a topic can be enough to help a child past a problematic learning curve in a particular subject.

So rather than assuming they just can’t ‘do’ something, or rely on their teachers to help them, why not try taking a more hands-on approach? Sitting down with them (or overseeing them if they’re older) for an hour a day to focus on a tricky subject can make a big difference to their grasp of and confidence in it.

3) Incorporate education into everyday activities

It’s easy for children to become bored and demotivated when doing assigned homework and other mandated projects – especially if they find them hard.

So a good way to keep them learning beyond the boundaries of schooling and tutoring is to find ways to incorporate it into daily activities. Look for ways to explore topics in the real world using afternoon field trips, movies, documentaries, exploring, socialising, and other life experiences that can help make concepts more tangible.

4) Encourage regular exercise

Exercise has been shown to enhance memory, thinking skills and blood flow, fend off depression, increase attention span, and improve the outlook of children. Combined, all these factors help your child to become the best version of themselves.

With physical and mental health so closely linked, encouraging your child to exercise regularly can help to give their learning a much-needed boost, so why not launch a fun exercise and play routine? You can try these 10 brain gym exercises.

5) Focus on providing a full and balanced diet

If you want to give your child the best opportunity to succeed in the classroom, you need to feed their mind. And in this case we mean literally with a balanced, healthy diet!

Research shows that nutrition influences student learning potential and school performance. So ensure they’re consuming the right amounts of protein, carbs, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Avoid fad diets and try to make sure your child is getting the full spectrum of recommended nutrition from a variety of sources.

6) Make sure they get enough sleep

The benefits from regular exercise and a healthy diet will be limited if your child isn’t getting enough sleep every night. Sleep deprivation is bad for everyone, but it’s particularly detrimental for developing children. Indeed, a lack of sleep may has been shown to potentially disrupt the development of a child’s brain.

So how much sleep does your child need? If they’re between the ages of five and 11, they need 10-12 hours of sleep a night. And if they’re 11 and 18, they need 8.5-10 hours of sleep a night. If you’re struggling to get your young child to sleep at night, you can read three strategies to help them child sleep well here.

7) Do your own research

You don’t need to fully rely on a tutor or school to address all your child’s learning difficulties. As well as getting professional help, you may want to take matters into your own hands by becoming an expert on the subject that your child is having problems with.

Equally, if they have a specific learning disability, do your best to study and understand it so that you can be as knowledgeable and practically helpful as possible.

8) Practice patience and understanding

As frustrating as it can be dealing with a child who just can’t (or seemingly won’t) study or grasp something, try not to lose patience or show your irritation.

Negative emotions like anger can place even more pressure on your child, which can create additional mental and emotional barriers that may make the issue even harder to overcome.

So regardless of how frustrating it may be to have to repeat yourself, experiment with different teaching methods and bolster their morale, try keep your composure and never let your child see that you’re becoming agitated.

Most learning obstacles can be overcome

Whatever learning difficulties your child is struggling with, the good news is that persistence, effort and a well-rounded approach will usually help you both see improvements.

And from hiring a qualified home tutor to putting in place some of the practical tips here, there’s much you can do to help your child feel more confident and capable in tackling their school work.

Photo by Annie Spratt