How can I help my child succeed in school?

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Canis Major Tutors.

How can I help my child succeed in school? What motivates a child to do well in school? How can I get my child interested in their studies? And… how can I just get my kid out of bed?

Yes, expater parents, it’s back to school.

For this post I turned to Tom Marshall, a founding member of private tutor company Canis Major Tutors. Canis Major’s network of Oxford and Cambridge educated private tutors help expat children through online virtual tutoring, proof reading, exam crash courses and one-to-one support. Here Tom shares his tips on helping your child succeed at school:

how to help my child succeed in school

How can I help my child succeed in school?

Children don’t just learn in the classroom. Link experiences at home with their school curriculum. For example, our French language tutors might suggest a French themed family breakfast and our biology tutors might suggest wildlife spotting on a country weekend walk. This wider learning environment really helps to form a bright and inquiring mind.

Secondly, keep plenty of books in the home and organise visits to the library. Engage in challenging conversations with your children. Discuss films and books they read in a way that encourages them to be critical of the media they consume.

Also, support your child in their learning journey. Explore different avenues for revision techniques. Plan the week’s learning sessions together, rather than simply doing it for them. Encourage short, but frequent revision sessions.

What motivates a child to do well in school? 

Try to form a positive association with school, learning and education from an early age. This positive mentality is likely to continue through into later life.

Take your child to museum and cultural sites. For birthday gifts consider chemistry kits, microscopes or fun educational material. If your child is leaning towards a passion at school, feed it.

How do you think parents can partner with the school in the growth and development of the child?

Parents have such as important role to play in tandem with schools. It’s vital that both sides communicate and are on the same page. This means much more than an annual parents’ evening.

Teachers will have expert advice about what may be best for your child at home in terms of encouraging growth and learning. They can see your child from a different perspective. Even if you feel it’s not the best advice, try to listen with an open mind.

support your child to do well at school

How can I help my child settle into a new school abroad? 

Adjusting to a new normal is always hard, and doubly so when the new normal is overseas or in a different language. Children generally adapt quickly, but they’ll need support on your part.

Keep lines of communication open. Check in with your children regularly to see how they’re feeling. Dedicate one-to-one time so they can open up, perhaps a trip to a cafe or a little walk, for example.

Try to foster a sense of stability while embracing the new environment. Encourage your child to keep in touch with their old friends and invite new friends round at the earliest opportunity.

Also try to work elements of your child’s new experiences into their learning. For example, our English tutors might prepare some lessons on the poetry and storytelling of a particular country. Spark your child’s curiosity about their new home and treat the process like an adventure.

A tutor can act as a constant in a child’s life. They’re part of the support system that helps the child feel comfortable with change. Online learning means a family can take a tutor with them wherever they go, and our tutors often accompany a child for many years, throughout their new adventure abroad.

help my child at university

In your opinion, how does parental involvement influence a child’s behaviour at school? 

A child’s environment has a fundamental impact upon their behaviour and character.

Taking an interest in your child’s studies signals that their studies are worth it. If you’re not interested, chances are they won’t be either. Ask your child to explain their work to you, assist with homework when they don’t understand. Show interest.

A good tutor will complement their studies with extra material and challenges on top of the base already set by parents and schools.

At Canis Major Tutors we provide further reading material and stretch your child that bit further. We have the experience to see where a child needs to develop. We’ll look at these challenges on a one-to-one basis with the child and develop a personally tailored plan.

It’s a symbiotic relationship between school, parent and tutor. We’re cogs in one machine, all working together.

show interest in your child's studies

How do I prepare my child for exams? 

Emphasizing the importance of exams without causing stress is a tricky balancing act. Walking this delicate line depends on your child’s motivation levels and personal character.

Help your child draw up revision plans that prioritise short sessions. Reward breaks. Help them stick to their plans.

Try to avoid distractions during exam season. Having said this, fun weekend plans can help motivate your child to get through a week’s revision.

A private tutor can be really useful during this phase. Tutors create a secure environment in which the child can express academic concerns and talk about what causes them exam anxiety.

One of the most important parts of a tutor’s job is the miracle confidence boost. We help a child believe that they can succeed. The positive psychological effects are truly astonishing, especially around exam time.

sport to help cope with exam stress

Any exam stress tips for parents? 

All of our tutors have lots of practical tips to help with exam anxiety. For example, breathing exercises are definitely advisable.

It’s also important for parents to emphasise that the exam is not the end of the world. Make clear that your feelings for your child are the same whatever their result.

Creative and sporting outlets are often neglected during exam season, but they can be a lifeline for a struggling child and a soothing escape through which they can recharge.

If none of this helps, and your child is experiencing very severe exam anxiety it might be worth seeking a doctor’s advice.

How can I find a tutor for my child?

Be wary of websites with thousands of tutor profiles but with very little information on the quality of the actual tuition provided.

When making initial inquiries, watch how the tutor responds to information about your child. Avoid those who give stock or non-specific responses. You want someone who is going to listen to your requirements and help your child specifically.

The best tutors have a combination of three key attributes:

  1. an exceptional academic background,
  2. years of experience working as a private tutor,
  3. a proven track record of success, with excellent parental reviews.

Canis Major Tutors have been personally vetted and police checked, they have a postgraduate degree from Oxford or Cambridge and a review score of 4.5 stars or above.

succeeding at university

Canis Major Tutors offer exam revision crash courses, proof reading and personal tutoring in person and online for school and university level students. All Canis Major tutors have postgraduate degrees from Oxford or Cambridge University. The first trial lesson is charged at half price, normal fees vary according to the specific tutor and individual student learning plan. For more, visit

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