We all want our children to do well in school but, despite your best efforts, there may be times when they fall behind. What’s worse, it may be some time before you even notice. When a child or teen begins to struggle with their school work, it is best to get them the help they need as soon as possible. The longer it takes for a student to get help, the more lost they become since the school learning continues forward.
So how can you tell if your child is struggling and, if they are, what can you do about it? Children and teens aren't always forthcoming about their school performance, especially if they do not feel good about it. Below are some signs to look for. Keep in mind that while anyone may have an off day without it signaling an overall problem if any of these become a pattern or start to become at all regular, the earlier you find out what is behind the change so you can help them, the better.
If your child’s attitude about going to school takes an unusual turn and all of a sudden he/she is looking for excuses not to attend, whether it be a “sickness” (headache, tummy ache, etc.) or a consistent trend of complaints about a teacher or classmate, there may be a deeper issue at hand.
Another big attitude shift to watch for is boredom. Often kids will complain they are bored when they don't understand what is going on at school. When your child says they are bored, it is important to look a little deeper to find the cause.
Sometimes misbehavior at school is really your child's way of trying to take attention off the fact they are struggling with their work. Children and teens also often lack many of the skills necessary to speak up and specifically say what it is they are having trouble with in school.
Whether your child has a history of occasionally getting in trouble, or has never officially gotten in trouble in school, an increase in this type of bad behavior can signal frustration due to an inability to understand subject matter or even a lashing out due to bullying that is going untold.
There are many children who do not look forward to homework time, but if your child starts to show an abnormal resistance to it (i.e. crying, shouting, or refusing to get started), then it may be because the work is too hard. The large majority of children seek to please their parents, so your child may be afraid that you’ll discover her “weaknesses” while helping her with her homework. If you suspect that this is the case, reassure your child that you’re there to help with guidence and support.
This sign is an obvious one, yet sometimes children and school parents do not want to believe that it is a sign that the child is struggling with the material in school.
An occasional poor grade on one assignment may not be cause for serious concern, but a pattern of low grades – or worse – a report card full of poor grades, is a concern. A report card of poor grades is a sign of some kind of problem. Do not fall into the pattern of denial that low grades are not a problem for your child. Poor grades mean they are not being successful in completing their work.
Be sure to understand all of the information that is on a report card, and come up with a plan to help your child.
It is important to remain calm and supportive when discussing school with your student. If you find your student exhibits any of the signs mentioned above, do not use the “wait and see” method in hopes your student will take charge of their studies on their own. The longer you wait, the more likely your student will continue to regress and getting back up to speed becomes exponentially more difficult. For more information visit our website or give us a call on 1300 364 499.