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7 Ways to Be the Teacher Your Child Needs

Think back a few years to when you were in school. Did you have a favorite teacher?

At the time, you probably didn’t consider why you preferred one teacher over another. You just knew that you felt valued, loved, and understood in Miss Smith’s classroom. In fact, you still feel kind of warm and fuzzy when you think about sweet Miss Smith!

mom and daughter learning together

What Makes a “Good” Teacher?

Let’s consider this question from a child’s perspective. If you asked your child to tell you what she wants in a teacher, what would she say? Go ahead and ask her … I’ll wait!

If your child is like most, you probably heard things like “gives me lots of recess” or “doesn’t make me do math.” But if we were to take a poll of the characteristics that children really appreciate in a teacher, we might also hear responses like these:

  • Is nice to me
  • Doesn’t yell
  • Listens to me
  • Cares about me
  • Is excited when I get something right
  • Is proud of me when I try
  • Understands that I’m not like everyone else
  • Makes learning fun
boy having fun learning

Did you notice that many of these qualities focus on the relationship between teacher and student? Coupled with the fact that your homeschooled child lives with his teacher, the importance of a positive student-teacher relationship gains even greater significance. But in the ups and downs of the daily grind, we sometimes get so focused on teaching and “improving” our kids that we forget to let them know how important they are to us and how much we believe in them.

Positive Encouragement Is Huge!

We all love working with people who bring out the best in us—people who encourage us, lift us up, and motivate us to reach higher—and your child is no different. If he ever feels discouraged, try some encouraging words to increase his motivation and help him get back on track.

This quote from Mother Theresa is one of my favorites: “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” It can be helpful to have a reminder of that from time to time, so we created this beautiful printable poster to serve as a daily reminder that your kids need your encouragement.

download encouraging words poster

6 More Ways to Be the Teacher Your Child Needs

The impact the student-teacher relationship can have on your child’s ability to succeed is immeasurable. Here are a few more ways that you can be what your child needs most in a teacher.

  1. Treat lesson time as special.
    As your child’s teacher, you will spend many one-on-one hours with your child. Teaching is the perfect platform to show your child how much value he has in your eyes. What a great opportunity to encourage your child, build him up, and help him develop skills and character.
  2. Smile.
    Think about what a difference a smile from your boss or coworker makes when you’re feeling frustrated. To a discouraged child, a smile may communicate you can do it! even better than words can.
  3. Reinforce the positive.
    Point out the things your student does correctly more often than you point out his mistakes. The more you reinforce something, the more likely your child is to repeat it. Just follow the basic principles on the graphic below.
list of 5 principles for reinforcing the positive
  1. Avoid comparing your child.
    The temptation to compare your child to another child, to a test result, or even to your ideal outcome is a “big pit” that puts pressure on your child and usually leads to frustration and discouragement.
  2. Listen to your child.
    Attentive listening lets your child know you are engaged and present in the conversation, and a child who knows he is heard and understood feels valued.
  3. Listen to yourself.
    But don’t just listen … listen through your child’s ears. Do you need to include more expressions of approval in your teaching?

How do you encourage your child? Let me know in the comments and we’ll add some of our readers’ ideas to the list below.

Tips for Encouraging Your Child, Recommended by Our Readers

  • When my kids are discouraged with a new activity, I help my children remember to keep working at it because they will get better! (Recommended by Renee W. via Facebook)
  • I help my child work toward progress and not perfection. (Recommended by Karina D. via Facebook)
  • I write them small encouraging letters and stick them to the bathroom mirror. (Recommended by Amber via blog comment)
  • I like to give them high fives and tell them that I love spending my days with them! (Recommended by Christina H. via blog comment)
  • When my child is discouraged because she doesn’t understand something, I repeat what she said, but with the word “yet.” “You don’t understand this yet.” (Recommended by Julie via blog comment.)
  • When my kids tell you me “It’s too hard!” I reply, “Yes, this task is hard, but you CAN do hard things!” (Recommended by Kay via blog comment)
  • I love to point out what my son has already accomplished to help him see what he is capable of. “Can you believe you just read a WHOLE story by yourself?” or “You have already read HALF of this whole book!” are a couple of examples. (Recommended by Anina via blog comment)

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Monalisa

says:

Some great ideas here! Thank you for sharing!

Katina

says:

Thanks for sharing this website on encouragement… I feel it a needed especially in what we’re face with in the world today.. Children need positive words to help them to have high self-esteem.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Yes, you are so right, Katina. And sadly, when adults’ stress increases our tendency to be curt increases too. We all need a reminder to be kind and gentle to everyone right now.

Jasmine Martin

says:

Thank you for this encouraging and challenging blog post on being the teacher our students/children need. This is something I want to improve on and help them thrive and continue to say, “I love mom as my teacher!”

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are so welcome, Jasmine. Those words would be so sweet to hear. 😊

Ebunoluwa

says:

Thanks for sharing this.

Linda Undernehr

says:

Great tips!

Mohamed

says:

Thank you so much for sharing this amazing tips in study guide.
You are absolutely unique and out of this world and your blog is really the very best place to study smart.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Mohamed! I’m very pleased to hear that our blog has been so helpful for you.

Manish Badkas

says:

Basics do work

Kristi

says:

I pull out some of their work to show daddy when he gets home. They like to show daddy their work too but when I do it, it seems to be a little more meaningful. :)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

What a lovely way to encourage your children and let them know you are proud of their work, Kristi! I love this idea. ❤️

Marilyn Brown

says:

Thank you! Great tips!

JoAnna

says:

Thank you for these reminders of ways to encourage our students. I always find your blog articles to be helpful and encouraging, yet brief and easy to read.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Awww, thank you, JoAnna! It’s lovely to be appreciated and even better to know our blog articles are helpful and encouraging to you. 😊

Beth

says:

This is an excellent reminder at the end of the year when we are all feeling tired and done.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Beth! The end of the year can be difficult and I think we all can use this reminder. 😊

Catherine

says:

Thank you so much for the article l really appreciate because this has helped me to improve my relationship with my daughter ,l have just realized that she needs to hear words of encouragement from me.Now she feels appreciated and confident.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Oh, I’m so happy to hear this, Catherine! Thank you for letting us know this was helpful for you and your daughter. I’m excited to hear that your relationship has improved. I’ll be sharing this with the entire AALP team!

Shawnee

says:

With the recent transition to homeschooling due to the covid-19 pandemic, I am SO grateful for this article!
Thank you for the well-designed and informative resources!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m so happy this was helpful or you, Shawnee! If you need anything, just let me know.

Michelle Bullard

says:

A GREAT reminder! Thank you

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Michelle! 😊

Angela Almond

says:

“..tell them I love spending my days with them!” This made me tear up. I really do love spending time with them and they need to know it! Thank you for these reminders.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I so know what you mean, Angela! Yes, they need to know. I think we all need that reminder.

Cute Dumisani Dube

says:

I am grateful to have browsed through this program of how to reach struggling learners in class. I am not a qualified teacher but i voluntarily avail myself to school in order to help with such kind of learners who cannot read or write. I am there to encourage them and also have some one one sessions with them just to find out what seems to the problem with and for the passed 10 years being a volunteer in different schools. I have seen a positive results of the work i do to these learners and they always achieve greatly, because I help them understand that they can make regards their challenges. I have also seen it working with my daughter with my daughter who is in grade who is now in grade 8 and she has progressed so much in her reading and writing to the point that she is the one who sometimes teach me new words that she find through her own research since I normally go with her to the library. I kindly thank you for your tips and I believe they will help other teachers in the school were I am a volunteer as part of extra school support programme.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for all you do! It sounds like so many students have benefitted from your caring help.

Megan H

says:

I needed to read this today. That daily grind has been getting us all down, & this article just breathed a breath of fresh air into our homeschool day. Thanks for caring about our relationships with our kids in addition to their learning!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Hugs, Megan. I have found getting into a slump to be easy this time of year, after the holidays but still so far from the end of the school year. I’m happy this blog post was helpful for you today.

Summer

says:

Great read! New to this whole process and looking for any tips.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

We were all new once, Summer. 😊 Let me know if you have any questions or need anything.

Ralu V

says:

So true! We are actually struggling right now with “no fun” school (though she doesn’t really understand it because she doesn’t have to what to compare it too) – and I promise you that all she does is as fun as possible. But sometimes you only appreciate things once you don’t have them anymore 🤷🏻‍♀️ We homeschool… But I also would love to teach my kids that, in life, there will be things that we do not necessarily enjoy doing but still have to do them (like washing dishes after eating a very good meal ☺️).

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Ralu,
Oh, I understand this. Learning to do what needs to be done and not just what you want to do is an important life lesson. Keep up this important teaching. 😊

Terri Baehr

says:

I hope to utilize the things in this article to minimize the daily arguments that tend to take place.

Michael B.

says:

Wonderful post!

Rebecca

says:

This is so good! What a great reminder!

Christy Levine, MS CCC-SLP

says:

I do not homeschool but work with children who have communication disorders. I benefit greatly from reading your blogs and parent comments. There is always more to learn from others. I like to make short, simple lists with my students with (achievable, short term) goals we are working on and check them off together and revisit what goals they have accomplished and remind them of the work it took to get there.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I love your idea of having sharing short term goals with your students as a way to motivate and encourage them, Christy! Thank you for sharing this. I know a lot of families will find it helpful.

Jennifer Terrance

says:

Thanks for this. ❤️I’ve gotten weary lately and haven’t been as connected and kind. I need to get back to that and remember that’s what comes first. Love and connection is what helps the growth and learning happen, for all of us.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

We all have those periods, Jennifer. This time of year, after the winter holidays but months away from the end of the school year, to be especially prone to feelings of weariness. I have found that doing something new and fun can make a world of difference for my children and for myself. I have often started a new art or hands-on science program around this time of year for just that purpose.

Julie

says:

I want to be an encourager and build my girl’s confidence, but I see that I’m not always doing that well. These practical tips are such helpful reminders. Thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Julie. It can be hard to give real encouragement and not just say the words. I’m glad this is helpful for you.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Julie. 😊

Mary Schuh

says:

This is so encouraging! Thank you!

MotherOf4Girls

says:

I ask them “What is the hardest part?” Sometimes in our effort to lift their spirits and look at the positive, we forget to see where they are at, and be curious about their struggles.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for this. Sometimes when we want to help our kids to be encouraged we do forget to acknowledge their difficulties. This is important.

Stephanie

says:

What a great reminder. I’ve been telling myself to treat anxiety before it becomes anger, but here are suggestions I think that get to the root of the anxieties that have been creeping up here at the end of the school year. Relationship is so much more important and longer lasting than any learning phase. I’d much rather focus on this positive approach than everything my girl hasn’t learned yet. A journey, this is.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Stephanie,
Yes, it is a journey.

One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received about homeschooling was to remember it is a marathon, not a sprint. Marathons are finished with a slow, steady pace. In fact, if you look at a marathon runner out of context, it looks like she is going ridiculously slow. Yet that ridiculously slow pace allows her to accomplish something relatively few people ever accomplish.

The steadiness is the most important thing. The consistent day-in, day-out work is where progress is made. I have been there with a couple of my children.

Please let me know if you have any concerns or need ideas to help your daughter overcome anything.

Amy

says:

This is very helpful as a teacher and just as a parent. I find there are times when I get frustrated with my son and it makes us both miserable. This is our first year homeschooling and he’s a teenager so this is very new to us. Hoping it will be better for him for 8th and his sister for kindergarten next year.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amy,
We all get frustrated with our children at times, just as they sometimes get frustrated with us. We’re all human.

If there is anything I can help with to make your homeschooling experience better or to help with any questions or concerns you have, please let me know.

Heather Turner

says:

I have the encouragement poster printed on my fridge, but I definitely need to remember to use positive encouragement more often!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I love that you have used the encouragement poster in a prominent place, Heather. 😊

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