How to Monitor Children’s Intellectual and Emotional Development

Asian mother and daughter laughing while sitting on a couch

Is my child really understanding what he or she is learning? Is he or she progressing intellectually and emotionally? What can I do to gauge this progress?

We all want to make sure our children are growing and maturing, as well as retaining new knowledge, but it can be difficult to monitor this progression as a parent or learning coach. While no two children are exactly alike, there are some universal ideas that you and your child can try this semester to start tracking intellectual and emotional growth.

Intellectual Growth Checks

Tracking Goals

Review your family’s educational philosophy to remind yourself of what you want out of your child’s education. It will help you set expectations with your student and will help guide discussions with his or her teachers when discussing learning goals. Documenting goals for the semester with your child can make it easier to track the progress of your child’s educational growth down the road. Plan to have regular check-ins in place to discuss progress with your student and his or her teachers. This is an ongoing process.

Start the semester by printing and filling out our student road map, which will walk you and your student through a thoughtful approach to creating goals.

Measuring Critical Thinking

Create a weekly problem-solving game for your child that offers a problem in the form of challenging scenarios to overcome.

Examples of different scenarios include the following:

  • You and your child set out different types, colors, and sizes of blocks. Then, you ask him or her to explore different ways that the blocks can be sorted.
  • Present the following scenario to your child: His or her student community is running a clothing drive, but the students in charge of the clothing drive are having a hard time getting anybody to donate. What solutions can your child come up with to help them collect more clothing?
  • Find an endangered species and request that your child do background research on this animal. Then ask him or her to come up with a few solutions for how to protect this animal.

Encourage your child to work through the problem in unique ways, such as drawing out his or her ideas or talking out loud, and observe him or her throughout the process. Step in only when asked to, and use your best judgment when it comes to how much help to offer based on the situation.

Checking Comprehension Skills

Your child’s understanding of what he or she is learning throughout the semester can be checked frequently and easily with a few simple tricks. Evaluating comprehension skills should be done often to detect whether your child is falling behind, is ahead of lessons, or is right on track.

Work new vocabulary or knowledge into casual conversation and watch how your child reacts. You can also ask your child to demonstrate a lesson from each day. These techniques will help you gauge whether or not your child is taking in and retaining information from lessons.

Gauging Emotional Growth

How you determine your child’s emotional growth will depend on his or her age and personality. Look for some general behaviors that can help you determine his or her emotional and social progress.

Indications that your child is emotionally stable include the following:

Watch for these behaviors as your child grows to keep tabs on his or her emotional well-being and progress.

Parents can support the emotional growth of their child in many ways.

  • Encourage your child to talk about what he or she is feeling, and demonstrate different ways to express feelings, through things like journaling, painting, sports, and clay sculpting.
  • Nurture your child’s adventurous side when he or she wants to try something new, making sure your child feels supported.
  • When your child is in the wrong, criticize the action rather than your child. Rather than, “You are bad for stealing a cookie,” try, “It was bad to steal a cookie.”
  • Be open and honest when you fail at something. This will help your child see that everyone makes mistakes.
  • Praise your child when he or she accomplishes something big. This will support self-esteem and confidence.

As you practice these techniques, always be watching for the indications of emotional stability listed above, and be aware of any change in behavior.

How do you keep track of your child’s progress, and what component of growth do you find most important to assess regularly? Let us know in the comments below!


This post by Beth Werrell first appeared on Virtual Learning Connections.


About the Author
Beth Werrell

Beth Werrell

Before writing for Virtual Learning Connections, Beth Werrell researched and wrote “volumes” about a variety of healthcare, family life, and education topics. She’s also been a Sunday School teacher, a toy designer, and an enthusiastic crafter. As the mother of a college student, Beth has gained an excellent overview of the entire K–12 experience and loves sharing what she’s learned in 20/20 hindsight.