Gumby had it right!

It’s so important to be flexible. Especially with children.

Typically, the longer the tutoring session (or the younger the student), the more flexible you need to be… as a tutor or a parent.

Younger children have shorter attention spans and with the many distractions of our society, older children’s attention spans are becoming shorter and shorter. That means as a parent or tutor, you need to be ready to transition into the next subject as soon as you see your student is no longer able to learn. Or implement a different learning strategy.

Switching from subject to subject is a great strategy. It gives the students a little bit of a break. Additionally, it allows the student to be able to clear their mind from a subject that might have become overwhelming to them. Simply telling your student that you’re going to put the subject on hold and return to it gives them a bit of a relief.

Even a two-minute break is an effective tool to help them refocus. If the student is young or energetic, I’ve even implemented jumping jacks or push-ups. All in fun, of course!

If you notice your student starting to zone out – be flexible and pick up another subject or teach in a different way. Utilizing materials that help the student switch modes is an easy fix!  Here are some suggestions:

  • Use a dry erase board or a chalkboard
  • Act out the lesson, or write a monologue
  • Find or create a digital game that will reinforce the lesson (Quizlet, Kahoot, Vocabulary Spelling City, etc.)
  • Take a short break or engage the student in a short conversation not involving schoolwork
  • Have your student take a few deep breaths and regroup

As your student advances through school, they will need to learn to push through the times when their brains want to zone out.  Helping them learn skills that will keep them focused will help them throughout their education…and life!

Flexibility during your time together allows your students to grow as they learn.  Your students will be more comfortable and honest and will try harder if they see you consider them.