Not every child is blessed with an outgoing demeanor and some can feel very self-conscious even when it comes to asking for some help. We have all experienced being stuck on something even into adulthood. These days we have the internet to search things but having someone who knows the right answer and who can personally help you with the right steps to understanding the question is much better. Not every question has a clear answer, so being able to work up the courage to ask for some assistance from the teacher or whoever may be able to explain it to you is important to learn at a young age. Asking for help is an important life skill. The good news is that there are strategies a parent can use to help encourage this positive behaviour and they shouldn’t be too difficult for you try out.
First of all it’s really important to stay positive and not to scold or interrogate your child. When your child doesn’t understand something don’t get upset with them. Try and find an alternate route that leads them to understanding the question and how to find the right answer. The more uncomfortable or embarrassed kids feel, the less likely they are to ask a teacher or a parent for help when it’s needed. This can cause issues which seem as if they are uninterested or they are getting frustrated with the work and sometimes frustrated with themselves. Remember, if you notice them exhibiting these signals then it’s time to gently step in and see if you can be of any help to them. One thing you can try for younger children is to role play a situation to practice asking for help from the teacher. Have the child play the role of the teacher first and then switch. This helps to show the child that asking for help is normal and that it’s nowhere near as stressful as they pictured it. Do your best to teach your child that they can relax because even adults need ask for help sometimes.
For older students, help them to draft an email to the teacher to ask for help. Model the email yourself but involve your child in the process. This takes the pressure away from face to face interaction and most students are already familiar with the medium. When kids are older and in classes that are busy the best thing to do is to keep notes of anything they aren’t clear on, then if they have the time they can try to approach the teacher when class is dismissed and schedule when they can discuss their questions. Sometimes a student’s peers might be able to give their friend a hand with questions about issues in classes they share so encourage them to check with anyone else they are comfortable asking. Soon they will understand that teachers are eager to assist and that asking for help is a powerful tool when you need to get the work done. With a bit of persistence and a lot of encouragement, your student will become comfortable asking for help and gain some confidence to boot, so stick with it, the results are always worth it.