Does My Child Need a Tutor?

Is your child falling behind in school? Did they just switch schools, and are struggling to onboard to the new program? Do they need a boost to excel further? Or perhaps they just need a little coaching on a particular subject. Of course, as a parent, you want to do everything you can to help out. But there comes a point at which you may need more professional assistance. When that happens, it may be time to hire a tutor.

No matter how knowledgeable you may be in a particular field, and even if you have the time to spare, you may not necessarily be the best option to help your kids academically. In fact, well-meaning parents can sometimes complicate the learning process by presenting material differently from teachers, and causing performance anxiety with unintentional pressure.

Instead, it might make more sense to turn to someone outside of the family dynamic. A professional tutor can be a great resource: they can help students develop strong study skills, fine-tune exam prep, and assist with struggle points in curriculum. Tutoring can also help foster confidence and self-esteem.

Signs Your Child Could Benefit from a Tutor

But how can you tell if your child needs a tutor? Of course there’s the obvious signs: failing tests and disappointing report cards. But ideally you’d like to catch the problem before it gets to that point. A chat with a teacher or guidance counselor can help you home in on certain problems and take appropriate steps.

Tutoring isn’t just about improving bad grades. It’s also for kids who might be getting top marks already but struggle to reach their academic potential. While failing grades are one of the clearest warning signs, there other less obvious signals to be mindful of.

Procrastination over homework assignments and projects is often a tell-tale sign that your child is struggling. They might feel overwhelmed and anxious about the schoolwork. Perhaps they’re hesitant to ask questions in a group setting, battling with an individual subject, struggling because of a learning disability, or simply need to learn better time-management skills to cope with their workload.

Remember that children are unlikely to ask for help directly, especially if they already lack confidence. And while it’s all well and good to go with your intuition, in some cases it’s worth seeking expert advice from an educational psychologist who can guide you on how much and what type of remedial intervention will be most beneficial.

On the other hand, maybe there’s another reason your child isn’t engaging with schoolwork. They’re not confused or out of their depth… they’re just bored! In this case, it might be worth finding a tutor who can spark their passion in a subject and provide a more enriching and challenging environment.

What Does a Tutor Do?

A good tutor can have a marked impact on a child’s academic results. An analysis of 52 tutoring studies found that tutored students consistently outperformed untutored ones. One particular study showed that students receiving one-to-one tutoring outperformed a full 98% of untutored students!

A tutor can tailor lessons to a child’s individual needs, to consolidate and complement school curriculum. With a tutor, there’s time to explain new concepts and properly engage with kids until content makes sense.

Some kids find a classroom setting intimidating, making them less likely to engage and ask questions. Because tutoring takes place on a one-to-one basis, it’s the ideal space for kick-starting communication, encouraging conversations, and providing kids with targeted feedback. Early tutoring interventions can also benefit at-risk children and reduce special education referrals. Perhaps most importantly, a tutor helps equip children with problem-solving skills, effective study habits, increased motivation and self-esteem, and the ability to work independently.

Tutoring For Children With Learning Disabilities

Children with learning disabilities might experience difficulties in spelling, reading, writing, listening, and math, which tend to be accompanied by concerns such as work avoidance, problems with concentration, and even behavioral issues.

Extra support is highly recommended for kids diagnosed with a learning disorder. Tutoring has been particularly effective in improving reading outcomes for younger children.

Whether your child has ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, language processing difficulties or some other learning-related stumbling block, remember their struggle has nothing to do with lack of intelligence, but rather a deficit of skills needed to deal with their unique condition. Because these disabilities affect children in so many different ways, individualized learning programs with a specialized tutor are extremely important.

In addition to developing new learning and test-taking strategies to boost academic achievement, these kids will benefit from being taught organizational, goal setting, and time management skills, as well as how to cope with frustration and anxiety. This is even more effective where a student is matched with a tutor who has similar learning challenges.

Children with learning disabilities are often granted special testing accommodations, such as extra time and distraction-free rooms. Tutors with a background in special education will have a good idea of which conditions apply to their students. Ask their advice on how to secure relevant accommodations!

Tutors who are knowledgeable about special education allow children to feel “seen” and validated. Kids who are comfortable with their unique learning styles and abilities are ultimately more likely to succeed in school and in life.

What To Look For In A Tutor

Consider what you want from a tutor. To fill in knowledge gaps in one or more subjects? Continued support in maintaining good grades? Specialized help for a child with learning difficulties? Extension tutoring for a high-achiever? Consider whether the tutor’s personality is a good match for your child, and whether they fit in with your and your child’s busy schedule!

The best tutors don’t simply teach. They take on the role of a mentor, and establish a relationship with your child built on trust and respect. They don’t only focus on improving a child’s weaknesses, but understand how vital it is to cultivate their strengths as well. While qualifications and experience are essential, it’s a tutor’s ability to create an interesting, relevant, and meaningful learning experience that truly makes the difference.

When you start looking for a tutor, get referrals from a reliable source: a teacher or guidance counsellor, a local parenting group or someone from your community. Background checks are also critical. Think about how important it is to vet a babysitter – well, it’s just as crucial for choosing a tutor!

To make the hunt simpler, turn to a trusted partner like Nanno. Nanno is an easy-to-use babysitter app, with thousands of babysitters—often specialized—pre-vetted and ready to help. What’s more, the platform has specific categories and filters, such as tutoring, lessons, sports, and projects, to help you find babysitters with teaching experience.

It’s ok to look for some extra support when trying to make sure your child excels. Find out what Nanno can do to put you in touch with the help you need, today.

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New York, NY
Stacy is a former nanny and currently director of user success at Nanno. She loves to find fun new solutions to complicated problems. Fun facts about Stacy: She is the oldest of 8 children.