Dos and don'ts of tutoring

Get the most out of your child's tutoring with these tips

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  • Involve your child in the decision making process

It is crucial for your child to be willing and open to participate in tutoring. If your child helps to choose their own tutor, they feel as though it's their choice and the relationship can begin on a stronger footing.

  • Know where the problem areas are

Ask your child or your child's teacher if you're unsure: knowing what area(s) your child needs to focus on will help the tutor know how to prepare for, and approach, lessons.

Try marking syllabus topics with colours: red = don't know, orange = need some help, green = got it!

  • Set goals

Whether it's very specific, such as improved confidence with algebra, or a general goal such as maintaining their grade at school, having a goal in mind and sharing it will help your tutor tailor lessons, provide updates, and ensure you're all on the same page.

  • Praise effort over grades

Reward and praise your child for the day-to-day hard work they put in, rather than placing the weight of 'success' on their final grade. This can help reduce anxiety and prevent your child from feeling overwhelmed, as well as encouraging persistence.

  • Empower your child to love learning

Play to your child's interests: do they find the Egyptians particularly interesting? If they love creative activities, try purchasing some gold paint and recreating Tutankhamun's death mask. For a child more interested in maths and problem solving, you could look up the mathematical encoding in the Great Pyramid of Giza. Activities and reading around a subject can inspire a better depth of knowledge and a love of learning.


  • Be afraid to ask for advice

Your child's teacher spends a great deal of time with your child during the school day and your tutor knows your child well, one-to-one. Both will be more than willing to share their opinions, guidance and advice.

  • Settle for a tutor if you or your child aren't completely happy

One-to-one tutoring is the most effective form of education, and the relationship between a tutor and a student sits somewhere between a teacher, a coach and a mentor. Those are big shoes to fill, so don't feel like a failure if you don't get it right the first time.

  • Overdo it

Your child needs to enjoy some downtime, too. If they're against private lessons, listen to them and don't assume their worries are irrational. Encourage your child to give it a go; then hold your promise to reassess after a few weeks.

  • Be scared to say 'I don't know'

If you don't know the answer, just say so! Encourage your child to look it up, or better still, look it up together. This helps ingrain the habit of asking questions when we don't know something, and your child will be more aware that it's completely normal not to know *everything*.

Tutorful (winner of Mumsnet Rated) are offering Mumsnetters £10 off their first private tuition session, so whether you would like to book a one-off maths refresher lesson or you're searching for the perfect guitar teacher, you can try Tutorful for less.

Liked this? Try these:

When to hire a tutor

Choosing the right tutor

Prepping for school interviews


Last updated: 6 months ago