Tips for parents with kids struggling at school
There will come a time when many children struggle at school either academically, socially or emotionally. But with dedication, and lots of love, these issues can usually be resolved and your child will come out a stronger person on the other side.
If your child is having difficulty with their school work it's best to step in as soon as possible and make an appointment to speak with their teacher. Ideally you'll be able to go through your child's school books to pinpoint the problem - and the best way to progress. Perhaps you could help your child by spending time revising or going over problem issues. Or, if your child's teacher thinks it could help, you could invest in professional tutoring .
As well as working on any weaknesses, it's important to spend time praising your child's strengths and encouraging their interests. Focusing on the positive can help build their self-esteem and make them more inclined to feel capable of progressing.
Sometimes we forget that children aren't born naturally knowing how to make friends - and our role as parents is to help guide them. Start by organising regular playdates with another child in your child's class (preferably one at a time). Maybe make it a regularly, weekly thing - such as 'friendship friday'. A well-supervised playdate, with lots of activities organised to keep them busy can help friendships blossom. Offer advice on how to make friends. Sometimes children need reminding how to say hello and to ask someone if they want to play on the monkey bars at recess. Build their resilience by reminding them that their friend mightn't always want to play, but they should try again until they succeed.
Children all mature at their own pace, but sometimes children can mature emotionally at a different pace to others which can cause issues. It can help to take the time to chat with your child about their feelings, in a non-threatening way. Many parents find it easier to chat in the car - the lack of eye-contact can often make for easier confidence sharing. Remind your child that it's okay to be themselves, and offer plenty of love along with any guidance. If your child continues to struggle, perhaps some form of counselling could help.
It can be tough for children to be on their best behaviour for six or so hours a day. Talk to your child about school behavioural expectations and ask them why they're struggling. Children aren't born knowing all the social mores, it's our job to help guide them. Talk to them about classroom rules such as listening, raising your hand to speak and using an indoor voice.For kids with boundless, almost uncontainable energy, it can help to organise something physical for after school - or perhaps they could ride a bike or scooter to school to release some pent-up energy.
If your child's struggling it can help to have them undergo a few basic tests to ensure there's no underlying problem. Eye-sight and hearing should be assessed on your child. If you are worried that your child may have ADHD or another condition, it's best to seek professional advice.
A parent's role
If possible, it's always a good idea to volunteer at your child's school. Offer to help out with reading groups, at canteen, with art. This gives you the opportunity to see your child interact in the school environment and how well she gets on with others. Always be there are a non-judgemental and positive force for your child. While children do need to learn to solve problems, they also need to know they've got you to guide them and back them up along the way.School's a learning experience, and sometimes we need to take two steps forward, and often one step back. So long as children keep moving forward, that's the main thing.
Read more about learning difficulties:
- Inattention and the gifted child
- Play therapy for autistic children
- Learning problems
- How to tell the school there is a problem
- Solving school difficulties
- Understanding anxiety in children
- What is ADHD?
- Could my child have ADHD?
- Getting ADHD diagnosed
- Types of ADHD
- Is ADHD inherited? + other FAQs
- ADHD treatments
- Should I medicate my child?
- ADHD and alternative therapies
- 6 ADHD myths busted
- Coping with your child's diagnosis of ADHD
- Strategies for parents managing ADHD
- How will ADHD affect my child's future?
- Celebrating ADHD