Ensure your child leads a balanced life

Laerskool Rynfield counsellor Chantel le Grange said children need a balanced life.

Laerskool Rynfield counsellor Chantel le Grange, who has her honour’s degree in psychology and is a qualified social auxiliary worker and trauma counsellor, explained the benefits of extra lessons and the need to strike a balance between your personal and school life.

BCT: What signs do teachers look for to determine if a child needs extra lessons?

CLG: In my experience, it’s easy to pick up signs in the foundation phase.

These signs include trouble with basic maths and reading, auditive discrimination (what they hear should be the same as what they write), listening skills and reversing letters (writing a “B” instead of a “D”).

BCT: What should parents be aware of?

CLG: Parents need to be aware that they can also send their children for a scholastic assessment at an educational psychologist to pinpoint exactly where the child’s fallouts are.

It’s very important to note that not all fallouts are cognitive in nature and it’s possible that the child is just struggling with his/her eyes and should simply be referred to an optometrist.

BCT: How often should a child go for extra lessons?

CLG: This depends on the nature of the problem and the age of the child.

The younger the child, the shorter their concentration levels.

When it comes to extra lessons for academic fallouts, extra lessons once a week is sufficient.

BCT: How soon before an exam should a child attend extra lessons?

CLG: Extra lessons should be recommended to parents as soon as the problem has been identified.

My recommendation is that it should be done at least four weeks before an exam, with the aim of focusing on a specific problem.

BCT: What are the benefits of attending extra lessons?

CLG: The child will be on par with the rest of their peers; improving marks; and most importantly, boosting self-esteem.

BCT: What are the consequences for a child if he/she needs extra lessons but chooses not to attend?

CLG: They will always feel cognitively behind the rest of their peers.

The child will most probably develop problems with their self-esteem and could develop a sense of failure, leading to the child either distancing himself/herself from others, or acting out in class in order to hide his/her feelings of incompetence.

BCT: How should a child balance academics, sport and social life?

CLG: The benefits of extra activities are positive if there is balance between school, sport, family and friends.

If a child has to start doing homework late at night and is not getting the required eight hours of sleep, they are not leading a balanced life.

I do believe that the answer to this question depends on each child; some children are able to excel in all areas while others are not able to handle pressure well.

BCT: Why is balance important?

CLG: Our children also need to be free to act like children.

They should also be able to use their free time to form friendships, create their own identities and to relax and experience the world.

Not all knowledge comes from literacy, but from the social world, which helps form and expands our children’s minds, perspectives, ideas and frames of reference.

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Sheina Razack

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