What to Do When Your Child is Struggling in School


Let’s face it: school can be difficult for kids. Between extra-curricular activities, social pressures, and struggles with the material itself, it’s normal for children to have a hard time maintaining a consistently high level of academic performance.

Unfortunately, when their grades start flagging it can also have a snowball effect on their self-confidence, leading children to doubt their own abilities and wonder if they have what it takes to excel in academics.

If your child is struggling in school, simply telling them to do better is probably not going to be enough. Instead, you need to come alongside them and brainstorm positive strategies that will help them succeed. Here are three tried and true ways of boosting academic performance that can also have a major positive impact on your child’s overall self-esteem.

1. Structured Study Time

Children thrive on structure, and nowhere is this truer than when it comes to learning. Carving out a regular time in the day for the study is an important first step toward normalizing study as part of the day.

Not only will this make it easier for your child to focus on their schoolwork, but it will also make their learning more effective. Scientists who study learning have noted that students who study for shorter periods but spread their studying out over time retain more information. This is because the brain learns through repetition, and going over new material every couple of days increases the likelihood that it will be locked into the long-term memory.

2. Tutoring Help

Sometimes, your child just needs more help in understanding and applying the concepts they are learning in class. In today’s education environment, teachers are often overworked, and growing class sizes mean that individual students get less one-on-one time with their teacher. Many studies have shown that as class sizes go up, student performance goes down, so getting your child the extra support they need is essential.

The best way to do this is through after-school tutoring. Tutors can play a pivotal role in helping struggling students overcoming their personal learning challenges. Because they provide children with a safer, more personal learning environment, they can also tailor instruction to the student’s actual needs (you can learn more at Prepacademytutors.com about how to find a local tutor who can work around your child’s schedule and offer in-home instruction).

3. Practice Positive Reinforcement

Just because a child is struggling in school doesn’t mean they will necessarily apply themselves to improve their grades, and it can be tempting to try to manage bad behavior through punishment.

Unfortunately, you can’t force a child to learn, and punishment often simply serves to create a negative association with schoolwork. Positive reinforcement is a much better approach. If your child improves their grade by even a few points, reward them with praise and something they enjoy. Instill a sense that improved outcomes lead to more freedom and responsibility.

When your child comes home with another C on their report card, it can be hard not to feel discouraged. But it is important to remember that overcoming challenges is essential to learning.

By teaching them to structure their time, look for extra help when they need it, and by emphasizing positive reinforcement, you can use these difficulties as an opportunity to equip your child with the tools and strategies they need to deal with adversity will set them up for the roadblocks they will face throughout their lives.  

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