Do you feel anxious at school report time? Here are some practical steps to deal with your child’s results and prevent future “report shock”.
1. Take it seriously…
It may only be a piece of paper, but a school report is important. After all, academic performance is an important predictor of success in the workplace later on.
…but don’t panic
That being said, a poor school report is not the end of the world. But if the thought of reading your child’s school report fills you with dread and anxiety, you’re not alone. After all, it’s natural to be concerned about your child’s academic performance. If you have serious concerns about your child’s grades, there are some practical steps you can take.
2. Talk to your child about how they feel about school and schoolwork
Is there an underlying issue affecting your child’s grades? By non-judgmentally drawing your child out in conversation, you may find the cause is something other than lack of interest in schoolwork. For example, bullying can seriously damage a child’s self-esteem and interest in school. Also, young children don’t have the ability to evaluate their own skills – they rely on adults to form opinions of themselves. A young child who is told they are “stupid” or “lazy” by an adult is likely to believe it, and give up. Regardless, it’s important to promote a growth – rather than fixed – mindset. For example, help your son or daughter see that while they may lack skill in English, they can develop that skill – they only need to apply themselves and not give up.
3. Talk to your child’s teacher
Organise a meeting with your child’s current teacher, and meet with their next teacher at the beginning of next year. You’ll learn a lot about your child’s academic struggles. But remember: teachers have a tough job, and no teacher wants to see a child fail. They may just have misinterpreted the reason for your child’s poor grades. Rather than viewing a teacher as an obstacle to be overcome, view them as a partner in your child’s development. Check in with their teacher regularly during the school year – don’t wait for another poor report.
4. Help your child to study
In order for a student to keep up at school, they must keep up with their homework. This means their home environment should be conducive to quiet study. Try the following suggestions:
- Create a study area. Rather than on the kitchen table, have a specific, organised place where your child can study – quiet, and away from everyone else. With that in mind, the study area needs to be distraction and technology free. Smartphones are lethal to studying.
- Schedule time, have a plan. Having a specific time for studying is essential, or it will not happen. You can sweeten the deal by allowing TV, video games or the internet as a reward after the study session is complete. Also, help your child develop a plan for study – for example, allocate a set amount of time within the study period for each school subject.
- Target weaknesses. It’s wise to spend more time on subjects that your child is struggling with.
- Teach your child not to procrastinate. When you don’t want to do something, you can always find a reason to put it off. Help your child to understand the consequences of procrastination – that they are punishing their “future self”.
- Take breaks. If your son or daughter thinks a study session means hours without any respite, they won’t cooperate. Make sure they have breaks during study – it will make studying more fun.
Teach them confidence. Never let them think of themselves as “dumb”. Remember, “the difference between a good student and a poor one usually has more to do with diligence than intelligence”.
If you’d like more suggestions on how to help your child with homework, read this blog post.
5. Don’t give up
This point is the most important. Even if your child claims they won’t use anything they learn at school in “real life”, remind them they have learned one of the most important lessons in life: to not give up. The ability to stick with a task, even when it is difficult, will benefit them no matter what they do. Studying for better grades is a life skill. As Mark Twain wrote, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” Contact Sonic Learning about our online programs to improve learning ability.
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