What can you do to help your child who may be struggling in school?
I have two decades of experience in education curriculum, professional development training, parent engagement, youth leadership, and more.
So when parents approach me about this issue, I align much Maggie Dent, a parent educator. Here’s what I would say:
There are typically some underlining reasons as to why children struggle in school. And our job as parents is to find out what that is. You can do this by helping your children problem solve and come alongside them and affirm they have your support in finding a solution.
It’s important to stay positive and talk to your child along with their teachers to see if there are any underlying issues.
If your child is starting to get frustrated with a topic that doesn’t make sense, take study breaks to help refresh their mind. Always reward good behavior to give them motivation, and implement any changes in their life that will help their study habits.
Continue reading to uncover how you as a parent can help your child with their academics.
- My Child Is Struggling in School: How Can I Help?
- Signs Your Elementary Student is Struggling in Academics
- Signs Your Middle Schooler is Struggling in Academics
- Signs Your Highschool Student Is Struggling in Academics
- Possible Reasons Your Child is Struggling Academically
- An Academic Learning Program Designed To Help Struggling Students
The Top Ways You Can Help Your Struggling Child in School
It’s primarily your child’s responsibility to get back on their feet and put some extra work in. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to help. Your assistance may prove extremely useful to your child.
Here are a few ways that you can help.
Children in grades 4-12 will need your help in validating how they are feeling and what is happening in their life.
All it takes to get started is a simple conversation with your child to dig to the root of the problem. Be careful not to show any anger or disappointment in this conversation. Try to be empathetic, calm, and approachable so that your child would feel comfortable talking to you and feel safe that you won’t judge them.
Reach Out to Their Teachers
Teachers have likely noticed that your child has been struggling and may be able to point out exactly what the issue is.
After talking with your child and the teachers, you can come up with a way to tackle this problem together.
Set Clear Goals and Desired Outcomes
Before making any drastic changes, it’s important to reflect on what works and what doesn’t. Strategizing and discussing the desired outcome will help your child feel more ownership of the changes. With your guidance, your child will learn how to set realistic goals and earn a sense of achievement when goals are met.
Implement Necessary Changes
Start by designating a specific time for homework with no distractions. During that time, your child won’t be allowed to use their phone or other devices, go out, or watch TV. You should get involved, too. Check the homework once it’s done to make sure they are doing their assignments correctly. When homework is done too early or there is no homework, that’s a perfect time to supplement it with reading time.
Reward Good Behavior
Reward your child when they make progress. This creates an additional source of motivation for your child. Some examples of rewards would be allowing them to go see a friend after their work is one, play video games, or watch some TV. The goal is to build internal motivation rather than just a quick fix.
Signs Your Elementary Student is Struggling in Academics
The sooner you notice that your child is struggling to catch up with their schoolwork, the better. These problems will not go away on their own, and without immediate attention, the problems will continue to grow.
Children aren’t always open about their struggles in school. They may feel that you’ll punish them for not being good enough, or they may simply be embarrassed. Whatever the case, it’s important for you to learn to recognize the early signs that your child is struggling.
Here are a few common ones:
- Refusing to talk about school
- School becomes boring for your child
- Misbehaving in class
Your Child Refuses to Talk About School
Up until a few weeks ago, your child was more than happy to tell you about their schoolwork, classmates, and teachers. But now things have changed. When you ask them about the school, you often receive vague answers or outright refusal to talk. Pay close attention to what your child does talk about. It’s possible they are only refusing to talk about certain subjects and not a school in general.
What’s causing this shift in behavior? It’s safe to assume that there is some kind of a problem at school. You’ll clearly need to investigate further and find out exactly what it is and if it’s performance-related.
Your Child Suddenly Starts Saying That School Is Boring
Any major attitude changes toward school and schoolwork may signal a problem. But one that most parents tend to overlook is when their child suddenly starts claiming that school is boring.
Children often get bored when they don’t understand what is being said to them, so that could be the case with your child as well.
Misbehaving in Class
Children who don’t understand their schoolwork get bored which often leads to misbehaving. So if you start receiving complaints from teachers about your child’s behavior, don’t just punish or scold them. Take a look at their grades and overall performance to get some deeper insight on what is causing the ill behavior.
Signs Your Middle Schooler is Struggling in Academics
Like the younger kids, there is a possibility your middle schooler might not wish to talk about their challenges in school.
Here are a few signs to show that your middle schooler is struggling:
- Difficulty eating or sleeping
- Working on homework for too long
Difficulty Eating or Sleeping
Has your child been eating less and having trouble falling asleep? These issues could be the result of excessive worry about something, which, in your child’s case, is most likely school-related. So, if you notice changes in your middle schooler’s appetite or sleep pattern, talk to them. If they refuse to elaborate, make an appointment with their teacher instead.
Working on Homework for Too Long
You might be happy to see your child work diligently on their homework. But before you start celebrating, pay attention to how long they’re doing their homework. If they spend an hour on a single task, they are clearly struggling.
The fact that your child is still willing to work is certainly a good thing. You can help them out before they fall too far behind.
Signs Your Highschool Student Is Struggling in Academics
High schoolers are just as unwilling to talk about their school struggles as any other students. They might be even more dismissive of the topic than others simply because they believe they are old enough to handle things on their own.
Here are a few signs to show that your high schooler is struggling:
- Changes in social habits
Irritability, Especially When Discussing Schoolwork
Teenagers are known to be fairly irritable, so you might not make much of their refusal to discuss schoolwork but you shouldn’t dismiss it. Try to talk to them and gauge where the problem is, or check in with their teachers. That might give you some necessary insight into why your child is often in a bad mood.
Changes in Social Habits
If you notice that your child is unusually quiet or withdrawn, you might want to look into it further. Some teenagers are naturally more withdrawn so it’s only alarming if it is out of their norm. This can be a telltale sign of your child struggling academically.
Possible Reasons Why Your Child is Struggling Academically
Once you can determine why your child is struggling academically you are better able to help them out, but it can be hard figuring out exactly what the problem is.
We have gathered a few reasons that could be the cause of your child’s struggles and possible solutions to consider.
|Reasons||Solutions to consider||% of students who experience this|
|Stress||Don’t over schedule, ensure good sleep, serve healthy diets, incorporate daily exercise, & model self care||Nearly 45%|
|Social awkwardness||Focus on their strengths, set priorities, practice role playing to gain confidence, teach empathy||Nearly 5% (typical age of onset is 13)|
|Slow at learning||Practice specific skills, work on planning and organization, talk to the school||N/A|
|Special educational needs||Give your child some undivided attention, be an advocate for your child, keep goals clear||14.4% (of kids under the age of 18)|
The best thing to do for your child is to listen to them and pay close attention to their behavior. You will be amazed at what you learn about your child by simply listening and watching.
An Academic Learning Program Designed To Help Struggling Students
If you feel that your child needs extra help overcoming their academic struggles, you should look into one of Excellerate’s academic programs. These programs quickly gauge your child’s knowledge and then set specific goals to help measure their progress.
Aside from helping children become better at subjects they are struggling in, Excellerate also teaches them how to take notes, manage their time, and self-regulate. All these skills come in handy at various stages of their education.
What’s more, the program is specifically adjusted to your child’s needs, and the teachers are academic coaches with years of experience in the field. Your child will receive the best possible education that is sure to help them catch up with their schoolwork in no time!