Success in school extends much farther than the grade received at the end of each quarter, semester, or school year. Children experience much of their growth in classrooms, learning from their teachers, peers, and friends. If your child has difficulty learning, it may be a larger issue than that your child is just not “getting it”. Bullying, social anxiety, ADHD, peer pressure, learning disabilities, and other issues can make the school years trying for children and parents alike. However, you can detect these behaviors before you get a phone call from your child’s teacher. Find out how to tell if your child is struggling in school below!
Struggling in school: the warning signs
Being aware of these signs can help you determine whether your child is having difficulty. Addressing a problem immediately and keeping channels of communication open can make an immediate difference.
- Acting out at school, lack of concentration
- Spending an excessive amount of time on homework
- Sudden dislike of school
- Refusal to discuss their school day
- Acting distant
Noticing any of these signs is a cause for concern.
How to respond to a struggling child
While it can be tough for many parents to admit that their child is struggling, acknowledging the possibility of a problem early is the first step towards ensuring the child’s success. By assuring your child that they aren’t expected to be perfect and that having a hard time is acceptable, you set a positive atmosphere for growth and learning. The following strategies can help get your child back on track:
Schedule a visit with the family doctor
Ensure that your child’s difficulty doesn’t stem from a health issue, such as poor eyesight or dyslexia. This is an important step to take first, because it lets your child know that you are on their side, and that their struggle is not their fault.
Meet with your child’s teachers and principal
Often, these authority figures will have insight into the issues surrounding your child’s learning. Rather than waiting for a note home or a phone call to report a problem, practice proactive parenting by contacting them at the first sign of difficulty. Your child’s teacher may notice that reading time is when your child is most distracted, or that math lessons seem to trigger acting out. Be sure to address these issues with your child, asking if they would like extra help.
Approach any difficulty your child is having with patience and love. Remember that it can be difficult for them to come to you. Many children fear the repercussions of struggling in school. Let them know that you are supportive and are willing to help them find the root cause of the issue. By building a positive community and attitude around learning, you prepare your child for a successful future and encourage open communication whenever he or she is having difficulty.