New Year, New Student: Five Tips to Help Your Child Turn Things Around

By Huntington Learning Center

With 2021 behind your child, now is a great opportunity to embrace a new mindset and a good attitude. A new school year is a new chapter, but so is a new calendar year. If your child had a few challenges in the fall semester, the New Year is well timed and a symbol of hope and change. Here are a few tips to help your child embrace the idea of a fresh start and turn things around during the remainder of the school year:

  1. Reflect on the fall semester. Your child should be honest with you and themselves about what the first half of the school year brought about, both good and bad. Discuss everything from difficult subjects (and poor grades) to teacher relationships. What does your child think they need to improve most of all?
  2. Set goals. New Year’s and goal setting go hand in hand. After reflecting, have your child talk about what they want the rest of the school year to look like. Help them set realistic, achievable goals and smaller milestones to work toward them. For example, if your struggling student ended the fall semester with a C in math, lay out the steps to do a better job keeping up with homework, reach out to the teacher when homework gets hard (rather than struggle in silence) and study more effectively for quizzes and tests.  
  3. Keep it real about failure. Many children view mistakes as failure, but it’s important for you as their parent to remind them that everybody encounters tough times. Mistakes are an opportunity for self-improvement and growth. So, if the fall semester wasn’t what your child or you hoped for, that’s ok. The turning of the calendar to a brand-new year is your child’s chance to reset and try again.
  4. Keep it positive. It’s not easy to talk about school difficulties without some emotion, but try to hold back your judgment and let your child talk as much as possible. Getting frustrated and upset will not help the situation. While you should be involved and supportive, any action plan set must be owned by your child. Let your child know that you believe in their ability to make positive changes and that you’ll be on hand when they want help, advice or support.
  5. Get detailed about how to turn each problematic grade around. While your child’s mindset and outlook are crucial, they also need to lay out the tactical pieces of the game plan. Encourage your child to:
    • Talk with the teacher about the areas they’re struggling with most.
    • Strategize how they will raise low grades.
    • Develop a homework routine that will help them be more successful.
    • Get organized if this has been problematic so far this school year (e.g., lost papers, etc.)

If your child is ready make some changes this year, the best thing you can do is be supportive and positive. But figuring out how to help a struggling student also requires developing an action plan and putting it into place. Need assistance? Call Huntington. After an academic evaluation of where your child stands, we’ll create a program of instruction to get your child on the path toward success—not just this year, but for the rest of their time as a student.