Dr Justin Coulson from Happy Families shares why the biggest issues for children in school is actually their own parent expectations.

Dr Justin explains that the increasing demands on students from well-meaning parents who want their kids to be A-students is often detrimental.

He shares how children are expected to do more “learning” and less playing at younger and younger ages.

“We submit them to all manner of tests, NAPLAN being the most famous, and apply pressure with ever-increasing expectations.”

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“If your kids are in primary school, consider dropping homework from your schedule entirely. Research evidence indicates it doesn’t help, and often hinders, learning. Instead, encourage reading, and read with your kids. Make it stuff they want to read.”

He suggests that parents pull their kids out of NAPLAN.

“It’s allowed. If you choose not to go that far, let them know you aren’t bothered at all by what they score. Let them know it’s really a thing for the government and their school. And make sure the school isn’t putting any pressure on the kids (or practicing for the test, or restricting play time or art/drama/music/sport time because of the test).”

He also adds we need to consider the amount of extra-curricular activities they’re involved in.

“Childhood is certainly about development, learning, and extending talents and abilities. But it’s also about play, freedom, and being allowed to be little.”

See more below:

Dr Justin Coulson is a parenting expert and father of six. Find out more about him HERE.

Share your comments below

  • We had tests on Friday mornings at school. It might be arithmetic one week and spelling the next.
    That was one way the teachers discovered if we were struggling and needed help.


  • When it comes to things like NAPLAN, I always tell my kids to have fun and have a go. We don’t care about the results.


  • I found it quite disturbing that even at daycare they have learning expectations. I think very small children should just be let to play and have fun learning.


  • I have also heard that some teachers too put pressure on their kids so their class does well in NAPLAN which is terrible.


  • I agree. I would be happy when there is no homework at primary school. I really don’t mind their grades. My daughter is rather smart and was offered a place in a gifted and talented class, but she refused, she rather wants to be with her friends. I’m proud of her for knowing what is more important.


  • The pressure can be so detrimental to their wellbeing I know I felt this way when I was at school too


  • Some schools use homework marks as part of their year’s marks.
    If kids don’t do tests at all how do teachers find out which students are struggling with what subjects quickly


  • NAPLAN is stressful and don’t like putting pressure on my kids


  • But you can’t pull out of things in adult life?? Why are we moddle coddling our kids so much? A test is ok for them!


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