We all want our children to do well in school but, despite your best efforts, there may be times when they fall behind. What may be worse is that it may take some time before you even notice. The sooner you can help them, the better. So how can you tell if your child is struggling and, if they are, what can you do about it?
Signs that your child is struggling in school:
- Spends long hours doing homework – Children should be set sensible amounts of homework. If your child is spending too much time completing theirs then they may have a problem.
- Reluctant to talk about school – None of us like to discuss things that make us uncomfortable and children are no exception. If your child starts to avoid the topic of school then they could be struggling.
- Bad Attitude – If your formerly calm child begins to act aggressively or rudely then it may be a sign that something is making them unhappy. If angry episodes occur just before or after school then they may be finding school too hard.
- Dwindling Motivation – If you hear the words ‘School is boring’ then be on your guard. Children often describe things they do not understand as ‘boring’. Be aware though that they may also find school boring if the work they are given is too easy.
- Misbehavior – Misbehavior is often the result of frustration. Before they have learned the social skills necessary to communicate effectively, they may ‘lash out’ as a way to get attention.
- Signs of depression – Children can and do suffer from depression and this can be a sign that they are struggling at school. If they become lethargic, their appetite drops or they begin to have trouble sleeping, these could all be warning signs you should look out for as a parent.
- Feedback from teachers – This is the most obvious sign but, all too often, the last to be noticed. Teachers are the ones who know children’s academic abilities the best. If they notice your child is falling behind the rest of the class then they will let you know. Hopefully, they should have some suggestions as to how things can be improved.
How can you help your child?
- Get Involved
As a parent, your presence in the academic life of your child is crucial to your child’s commitment to school. Do homework with them and let them know that you are available to answer questions. Get in the habit of asking them about what they learned in school and engage them academically. By demonstrating your interest in your child’s school life, you are showing that their school can be exciting and interesting. Remember, a conversation is always better than an interrogation.
- After-school Tutorial Sessions
A little extra help and academic attention to your child goes a long way. If you see them struggling in difficult subjects such as math, then it would be better to get outside help by hiring a tutor. Learning experts from eazymathtutoring.com.au help explain how maths tutoring can help improve the grades of struggling students. The learning strategies they use would help students succeed in mathematics all by themselves and before you know it, your child can ace exam after exam.
Many parents are nervous about rewarding kids for good work, and while it is true that tangible rewards can turn into a slippery slope, there are ways to use extrinsic motivation that will eventually be internalized by your kid. Use social reinforcers such as praises, hugs, high fives, as children get motivated and start to achieve because it feels good for them.
- Let them make Mistakes
No one can get A’s on every test or perfect scores on every assignment. While kids need encouragement and it’s healthy to push them to try their best, know that setbacks are natural. Sometimes the only way kids learn how to properly prepare for school is by finding out what happens when they’re unprepared.
- Make the Teacher your Ally
Another one of the most important things you can do for your child is to work with his teacher. The teacher might have additional insight about how to motivate your child, or what he might be struggling with. Likewise, you can share any strategies or information that you have.
As a parent, it is important to know that these early years of schooling are an important time for parents to be informed and supportive about their child’s education and to set the stage for children to develop and grow as young learners. You play an important role in your child’s development. By applying the recommendations above, you help your child have the best academic experience by being involved.