Working TOO Slowly
Even without learning disabilities, some children work too slowly relative to other students, so they need more time than others to do almost anything. This includes writing down assignments, completing assignments and taking tests. These students seem to be driven by a slower clock. They even tie their shoes slowly. These students are perpetually playing “Beat the Clock,” which is surely anxiety-producing for them.
Strategies and Recommendations
Set aside extra time so slower-moving students will be able to complete assigned tasks This includes copying notes, writing down assignments, and doing work during school time and taking tests.
Look for time-saving options. Consider shortening assignments (for example, assigning all the even numbers or odd numbers on the math page instead of the entire page). Also, for these children, keep distractions to a minimum.
Remember that learning is not a race. If a child has not been diagnosed as learning-disabled and is struggling because of time, provide for the extra time he needs.
When we don’t get enough sleep, our brains and bodies do not work well. When a student doesn’t get enough sleep, she feels tired, has trouble concentrating and has trouble controlling her temper and frustration. A lack of sleep affects everything about us: our personalities, our ability to comprehend and remember information, and our ability to focus—all of which have impacts on learning.
Strategies and Recommendations
Review your child’s schedule and make sure he or she is getting enough sleep.
If involved in too many activities, talk with the child about which are most important to her and let her decide what to drop.
Stress is not the exclusive domain of adults. Children and teens also have personal problems that cause stress. The teen years are especially stressful. Hormones are raging and peer pressure is at an all time high. School, college admissions and thinking about the future are often center stage when it comes to stress. Some kids worry so much about grades and testing, SAT or ACT scores, or college admissions that it’s hard for them to think about anything else.
Overstressed people have trouble concentrating, relaxing, sleeping and, consequently, learning. Research has shown that stress actually changes the brain to the point that prevents us from thinking sharply or properly.
Strategies and Recommendations:
Think about whether you may be inadvertently causing the stress. Are you speaking or acting in a way that might create tension, fear, or undue pressure? Are your standards so high that your child is afraid he can’t meet them? Examine how you may be affecting your child’s level of stress and make changes in your expectations and how you respond when he struggles.
Everyone’s potential for stress is different; everyone’s personality is unique. What may be easy for one child to deal with may not be so easy for another in the same family.
TOO Much Multitasking
It’s not that kids don’t want to learn—most do. And it’s not that they don’t care. But we now live in a time and culture unlike any before—e-mailing, texting, phoning, playing video games, you name it. What we’ve suspected for a long time has now been confirmed by recent research—our performance, on the job or elsewhere, suffers when we do more than one thing at a time. In fact, when we move quickly from one task to another, we are actually slowed down. As with “TOO tired to study,” set the parameters and have an age-appropriate discussion with your child about which activities may need to be curbed and let him choose which ones go.