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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How do I help my child (age 7) in school?

    My child struggles with his homework. He has homework everyday and I try to help him with his reading comprehension but when I ask him to try on his own, he says he simply doesn't understand it. Advice?
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  • Lisa Benjamin

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Principal, Thinking Space Clinical PsychologyChild & Adolescent Psychology | Parenting | Adult & Couple Psychotherapy A well respected clinical psychologist and psychotherapist in private practice, … View Profile

    In general it is important to create a clear demarcation between “work” and “play”. Put aside say 30 mins each day for homework, consult with is his teacher regarding what is appropriate. Explain to your child that this is time to do homework and do what he can in that time. Even if he does very little in the allocated time, remember to encourage and say something like “well done, tomorrow we will try again and perhaps do a little more”…. After the 30 mins close the book and encourage some play time. I think at his age it is important to make yourself available to him. Perhaps your presence and at times assistance will be helpful.

    When reading a book, how about he reads one paragraph and then you read one paragraph…..this could help him in focusing on the content of the story not just the “reading”. At the end of the book ask him some specific questions about the story you have just read together. This collaboration can be enjoyable for you both and aid his concentration. If you are concerned he has a specific problem with comprehension then discuss with his teacher and gain feedback regarding whether he requires specific reading instruction (that is, tutor) or otherwise an assessment with a clinical psychologist to identify whether he requires some help in building his confidence and motivation with school work.

    Lisa Benjamin
    Clinical Psychologist and Psychotherapist.

  • Serving the interests of children and young people with childhood language and related disorders View Profile

    It may also be worth considering a language assessment from a speech and langauge pathologist to rule out any broader language difficulties that are affecting your child's ability to comprehend written language. The classroom teacher may be able to arrange this through the school or recommend someone with experience in your local area.

  • Ida Shapievsky

    Psychologist

    Being a mother myself, I understand what it is like constantly worrying if you are doing the best job possible for your child. My passion … View Profile

    I definitely agree with Lisa. It might be worth investigating as to why your child does not like doing his homework. It might be a number of things so it;s worth investigating all of them. The first step would be ruling out learning difficulties. A child may not want to do their homework because they have a limited working memory or have difficulties comprehension their work, or difficulties understanding concepts or their hand gets tired. A qualified child psychologist may assess your child learning abilities/potential, and his academic achievement to determine what is it about learning and homework that he is finding difficult. Once we rule out learning difficulties, it might be worth having a look at his motivation levels, issues at school or at home. I am happy to chat with you if you are still concerned.

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