Warning signs to look for and how to get help.
Nothing sends a clearer message about your child's education than a failing grade. Usually, there are signs that your child needs help before that kind of report card arrives. Talk to your child's teachers if you suspect there's a problem. In many cases, they will have suggestions to help you address educational challenges. Your school's guidance counselor can also be an excellent resource.
It can be difficult to determine the cause of the trouble your child might be having at school. While sometimes the teacher may not be a perfect match for your child's learning style, remember that the problem could also be as simple as your child needing a new prescription for his glasses or to to be moved away from a distracting student.
However, it might be time to take action if your child:
- Seems to work hard, but still receives mediocre grades.
- Takes a surprisingly long time to finish what seems like a basic homework assignment.
- Despairs that he will never do well in school.
- Gets easily distracted when trying to focus on homework and makes excuses about why it isn't getting done.
- Frequently expresses frustration with particular teachers or subjects.
- Gets angry with you when you try to explain something she doesn't understand.
- Starts to say he hates school and doesn't see the point of doing well.
- Might be an advanced learner who is bored with classes and needs more challenging work to stay focused.
- Appears stressed and anxious about scoring well on the SATs and other standardized tests, which could trigger difficulties at school or at home.
How to get help
If you see your child struggling, take action.
- Talk with your child
- Remember that your child's teacher and school guidance counselor are trained to address this type of situation.
- Make an appointment with one or both of them.
- Tell them your concerns and see what their perspective is.
- Reach out for help; find a tutor or a tutoring center in your area who can work with your child one-on-one.
Tiffany Smith is the senior associate editor here at Care.com. She has written for All You, Time for Kids and the Boston Globe. And as a former babysitter, she knows a lot about fun games to play with kids. Getting them to eat their veggies -- that’s a different story! Follow her on Twitter at @tiffanyiswrite.