• 19 June 2024
The First Discussion Parents Should Have When Hiring a Tutor

The First Discussion Parents Should Have When Hiring a Tutor

Feb 26, 2018

A line of communication between parent, tutor, and teacher is crucial to make sure your child is getting the help they need, but one very important discussion is often overlooked: talking to your child about why they need tutoring to begin with.

Why you need to have this discussion

For tutoring to be successful it is crucial for your child to buy into why they will benefit from the opportunity. Many children might worry you are sending them to a tutor because there is something wrong. The fact is children go to tutors for a variety of reasons. Some might enjoy having the personalized support and attention. Others might need the extra time to learn. Explaining this to your child can help them understand that this is an opportunity to learn in a way that is designed just for them.

Many times children will admit they are struggling and will appreciate the opportunity to find a solution. Letting them know you want to help them will lead to an honest discussion and a clear understanding about what you both hope to achieve.

This is a chance for you and your child to connect through a shared vision and a reminder you are on the same team with the same goal.

Starting the discussion

1. Be ready to talk with them: It’s important you have a clear understanding of why you feel working with a tutor will benefit them and how the sessions will work so you can convey this goal to them.
2. Find a quiet time: Pick a time when you can give your child your full attention and plenty of time to talk.
3. Explain this is not a chore: It’s important your child understands this is a positive opportunity instead of something they have to do.
4. Ask their opinion: Most students have experienced teachers who they liked or felt they learned a lot from. They have probably also had teachers they didn’t connect with as well. Ask them what they felt was helpful so that you can find a tutor who can match their learning style.
5. Focus on the positive: Let them know the tutor is there to give them special attention and focus on the positive reasons for being tutored and not on negative ones. Avoid saying things like, "You need help because you can't read," "You are behind in school," or "You might not pass this year."
6. Find an opener that tells them you want to support them: Open the discussion with a statement that lets them know you are on their side. Perhaps, “I’d like to help you become even better at math and science and many people learn better when they have a person dedicated just to them.”

Sometimes discussions don’t go as you hope

If your child is upset about getting a tutor, know this is normal. It’s a new experience and they may just need time to adjust.

Some children might be upset about missing after school activities or playtime with friends. Or they may be feeling insecure about their performance in school. It is important to acknowledge your child’s feelings and engage with them in an open way.

  1. Take a breath: Being worried about new experiences and a new routine is a natural reaction.
  2. Try to determine why they are upset: Sometimes it’s hard for children to express their feelings so a simple question could help them find the words for what they are feeling. You could ask, “I see something about our talk is upsetting you. What worries do you have about tutoring?”
  3. Show them you support them: Explain to them that it’s important to you that they share how things are going both with the tutoring and how it affects them outside of tutoring. For instance it there is a particular activity they don’t want to miss let them know you’ll work with them to find a compromise. Remind them they can always come to you to let you know they are unhappy and you will work out a solution together.
  4. Remind them of the purpose of being tutored: Let them know lessons will be tailored to them in a way that they can learn without becoming frustrated. They will have extra attention and will be able to ask questions or discuss difficulties. And their tutor will find ways to make learning fun.

It’s important to keep talking after the tutoring has begun

It’s crucial that your child know you are proud of them and that you see the progress they are making. Who doesn’t like a pat on the back or a gold star? Remember to praise them for specific wins for example: “I can see the extra effort you are making and it is really showing. You’re doing a great job with your spelling tests.”

Once the tutoring sessions have started make a point of checking in with the tutor and your child to see how things are progressing. It’s important you remain involved so you can evaluate how the experience is going and to make sure positive progress is being made. By keeping your child part of the discussion they will continue to feel supported and that leads to better engagement on their part.

Having this talk has other benefits

Open communication with your children develops trust and confidence. It teaches them how to have productive and comfortable conversations with others and this will serve them well their entire lives. It will be a discussion you’ll be glad you took the time to have together.

Have you had this talk with your child and have tips on how to approach the conversation? If so we’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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