At some point or another, every student brings home a poor grade on an assignment or a test, which can be a real blow to the self-esteem. It is understandably difficult to see your student struggling and feeling badly about school, but here are several things you can do to help your child overcome a bad grade or dip in school performance:
Be supportive, not angry. Let your child know that you’re there for support and you want to help him or her—whether this is a small or growing problem. When a bad grade comes home, resist the initial urge to yell or punish him or her. It’s understandable that you may feel concerned or angry, but your child probably feels as bad as you do about his or her school struggles. First, have an open, non-judgmental conversation with your child about what happened.
Determine whether you’re dealing with a one-time problem or a deeper issue. Has your child had problems with this particular subject or skill in the past, or is this a new issue? Talk with your child about what went wrong on the assignment or test. Does he or she understand what mistakes were made and how to correct them?
Look for signs elsewhere. Occasional bad grades happen to all students. Consistently low grades and test scores, however, are worth investigating further. How is your child during study and homework sessions? Does he or she take far more time than seems reasonable to complete work? Is his or her work sloppy or disorganized? Has your child regressed in a certain subject since the prior year? Do tests seem to make your child anxious?
Remind your child that failure is a part of life. It may be hard for your child to understand without the perspective that you have, but let him or her know that making mistakes is how we learn. Share a story of a time when you or a favorite aunt or uncle struggled in school. Let him or her know that you do not expect perfection, and that this is an opportunity to strive for improvement.
Focus on the future. Try not to dwell too much on a poor grade or test score. Instead, figure out the best way for your child to overcome any difficulties in order to earn a better grade next time. Be sure to involve your child when developing that plan of action. Teach him or her to set goals, lay out steps to achieve those goals, and work with you and his or her teacher to tackle problems as they arise.
Ideally, you should take these steps before your child’s school difficulties spiral into big problems. However, it is never too late to help your child turn things around and repeal any serious damage to his or her confidence and academic record. Huntington Learning Center works with students who have been struggling for a few months, students who have been struggling for years, and everyone in between. Whether your child needs help in math, science, reading, writing or another subject, Huntington’s experienced, certified teachers can design a customized, tutoring program that makes an impact. If you suspect that your child needs help and you’re not sure where to begin, call us at 1-800 CAN LEARN.