Coaching for Success through the School Years

F101 treeAs your child or teenager settles in to his new school year, make some resolutions on how to help him academically. As much you may wish for your child to achieve success at school, it is appropriate to ask what you can do to coach, spur him on, and get him to aim higher.

To help your child reach for his best, pique his interest. Motivate him so much that he is instilled with a desire to learn. To do so, the Dads for Life Resource Team has come up with 10 terrific coaching tips for easy recall. Just remember:  ‘A’ FOR FATHER.

1. ‘A’ – Assiduousness. There are no two ways about it. Discipline and due diligence are necessary for academic success; homework and hard work are the basic requirements for a student to do well in school.

2. F – Family Unity and Friendship. Do stuff together as a family. Be united in your show of support for your child and belief in him. Teach him to choose his friends wisely. If your teenager’s friend is a negative influence, help him see how to keep a distance or even stop relating for a while.

3. O – Obsession with Learning –a good obsession, to be precise. Inculcate a love for lifelong learning in your child and implant in him the winning mentality. Immerse your child in activities that will develop a competitive spirit.

Soo and Jane Kim, siblings and authors of Top of the Class: How Asian Parents Raise High Achievers – and How You Can Too, write about how you can fashion a family culture based on giving one’s best, with support given to every member’s pursuits: “Your child’s motivation is fuelled by your hope and belief in him!”

4. R – Role Model. Challenge yourself to take up a course so that you and your child can study together; and make a resolution to ace your examinations while you are at it! Show your child how enthusiastic you are about learning something new and the significance you place on education. Make sacrifices in your life, and commit your time and effort to be involved in your child’s education.

5. F – Fun. Learning can be full of fun when you make it creative learning! Put things out of context, think out of the box, and bring learning out of the classroom. Infuse originality, imagination, innovation and different forms of expression into learning. Incorporate learning into the various activities you and your child do every day. Gain insight and knowledge about the way things work and the world around us.

6. A – Altruistic Pursuits. Persuade your child to volunteer for community service and help the less fortunate, or go on a student exchange trip to a poorer country. Let him appreciate how fortunate he is to have the opportunity to receive a systematic and comprehensive education here in Singapore.

7. T – Talent Management. Identify areas at which he excels and manage them carefully to boost his chances of improving and shining in his talents. Facilitate the advancement, cultivation and actualisation of your child’s special abilities by providing him with adequate resources.

8. H – Holistic Development. Academic achievements should not be the sole emphasis of education. Equally important are the moulding of your child’s character, and the social, emotional and physical aspects of his development, so that he can grow up to be a well-rounded and useful member of society.

9. E – Engagement. Stay on top of what your child does in school. Establish a relationship with your child’s teachers and participate in school activities. Sign up for the parents’ support group in your child’s school or volunteer your help at school events. Lend your expertise to co-curricular activities and enrichment programmes, Join the Parents-in-Class initiatives. Attend School Family Programme seminars and Fathers-in-School workshops.

In Engaging Fathers in their Children’s Learning: tips for practitioners, Adrienne Burgess, Research and Policy Officer of Fathers Direct, writes that a greater level of interest and direct involvement in children’s learning are associated strongly with better results, greater progress at school, better attitudes towards school, and a higher level of educational qualification eventually.

10. R – Respect and Recognition. Have your child respect elders and teachers, and be courteous to them at all times. In Top of the Class, Soo and Jane Kim, refer to elders as “bearers of experience and knowledge.” The authors propose that one of the reasons Asian children excel in school the United States is because they are “taught to obey all educators, from kindergarten teachers to college professors.”

In addition, it is important for you to expect and emphasise effort as well as endeavour, and not merely focus on final results. Recognise your child’s hard work and let him know you are proud of him no matter what the outcome.


1. Kim Abboud, Soo & Kim, Jane (2005). Top of the Class: How Asian Parents Raise High Achievers – and How You Can Too. New York, USA: Berkley Publishing Group

2. Adrienne Burgess, (2005). Engaging Fathers in their Children’s Learning: tips for practitioners, retrieved 17 January 2012

About the Author: The Dads for Life Resource Team comprises local content writers and experts, including psychologists, counsellors, educators and social service professionals, dedicated to developing useful resources for dads.

First published on 29-02-2012