by Khairy Farhan

I was thinking about one of the more difficult sections of English Language (EL) Paper 2: Comprehension Cloze. I also thought about how I, as a child, would enjoy doing clozes. I remember I had a red book that only had clozes in it and it was an American book.

I was quite the completionist back then. I would do things until I completed them and I was terribly persistent. I think when I was younger, my mother would have sat me down and got me to finish until she was satisfied before letting me go.

But at the same time, I enjoyed talking to myself. When I would get an answer wrong, I’d ask myself, “Why is this wrong?” “What do you mean that’s the answer?” “How is that the answer?”

I’d sit there asking myself, trying to figure it out. And this was when I was in Primary 2 or 3. I wouldn’t blame it on games either, I had a computer and Sega Saturn 2. Back then, that was really awesome to have. Street Fighter 2, Sonic the hedgehog, amongst others.

My mum still would tell me, “Ok, enough. It’s been an hour. Go do your assessment books.” And I would go at it just because to me, it was like a story that I had to figure out what it was about.

Related: Practical Intelligence – How to encourage Common Sense

*shrugs* I’m still not sure myself how to advise parents. But from my own experiences and reading, I would say this:

1) Do not offer rewards or consequences if you want them to do something that’s beneficial.

When you offer something, “Ok, you can play your games if you do five pages of Maths.”, what you’re really saying is, “Ok I know Maths is difficult and boring, but I just need to know that you did it. After that you can play your games. So satisfy what I want and you can have what you want.” Instead, explain to your child that sometimes in life, we just have to focus to do something which has rewards that we can only see later on in life. Scrap the rewards and focus on encouraging your child to persevere.

Related: How to Instil Delayed Gratification

2) Be realistic with what you want them to do.

Do not ask them to sit and do their homework for five hours.

3) Sit with them throughout their study session, initially.

Yes, this ties in with #2. It shows you’re serious, but it also shows your support. Offer drinks or snacks and words of encouragement. This is when you BE a parent!

4) Ask them questions, but do not be incessant.

Questions can be like:

– Can you explain to me what you just did?
– Why did you do that?
– What does this mean?
– How do you know your answer is correct?
– Check the answer. Why is it different from yours?

5) Most importantly, remind them to take a break and do something together! Cook lunch, make sandwiches, do sports or anything!

Be an active parent.

Sacrifice what we are now for what we will become.