I’ll never forget the friends I had in elementary school who would have pure terror in their eyes when they got bad grades. 😭
They were no doubt scared of the inevitable punishment they would recieve for each and every D, F, and even C on their report card.
This week I overheard a conversation where a grandparent was extremely upset at her granddaughter for failing P.E.
I sat there tight lipped wondering what else could be going on to cause these bad grades. There really are SO MANY FACTORS.
What do you do when your child is bad at school?
Bad grades on report cards immediately signal to us as parents or caregivers that our child is bad at school. They are failing and something has to be done about it. 💁♀️
Reacting to bad grades is totally natural. We love our kids and want them to be successful.
The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that 10-15% of children will repeat or fail a grade in school, the majority being male. Their research suggests that many factors play a role in this including social, behavioral, and emotional issues.
It’s only natural to place blame on the child as a first reaction because they are the ones that are supposed to be putting in the work, listening, learning, and paying attention.
Before you address your child’s grades you need to figure out the reason why their grades are low.
Why is my child getting bad grades in school?
There are so many factors why your child could be getting bad grades in school and many of them are out of their control.
- Medical Issues– It can be easy as a busy parent to overlook medical issues that might be holding our kids back at school. There are so many simple medical issues that can really make it difficult for children to learn.
Something as simple as needing glasses could be preventing them from paying attention in class.
All kids are different. Some will tell you whenever there is a problem, while others will hide things like frequent headaches until they are in severe pain.
If your child’s grades are suffering it’s a good idea to pay attention to any health ailments that might be holding them back.
- Psychological Issues– Testing anxiety, depression, and learning disabilities are all examples of psychological issues that can get in the way of your child’s learning.
If your child is struggling to keep up with their peers it may be a good idea to speak with your pediatrician and child’s teacher. See if you can get them tested for learning disabilities.
We have a child with ADD that makes learning difficult. Often times a C grade at a traditional school was an A for them. That was them trying their best.
- Teacher Support– As much as we always want to believe our teachers are doing what’s best for our children. Sometimes they aren’t.
Your child may not be getting enough support from their teacher. This may or may not be the teacher’s fault with overcrowded classrooms and children that sometimes go unnoticed.
Teacher bullying is also very real. We’ve had a child who’s experienced this. The anxiety and pressure it brings is hard on children.
Be observant of your child by asking them questions after school and creating a good relationship with the teacher through volunteering, email, or teacher meetings. Being more involved will help you know if your child is getting the right support. Don’t be afraid to step in if a change needs to be made.
- Peer Support– Sometimes friends and peers at school can really negatively effect your child’s grades.
Dealing with bullying or peer pressure can give your child anxiety that takes their focus off of learning.
One study from JAMA Psychiatry suggests that children that are bullies or victims of bullying are at a higher risk for psychiatric issues during their youth.
- Parental Support– Our kids need our support just as much as teacher support.
Make sure you are getting involved with your child helping with homework and school projects. Hire out a tutor or ask for more school resources for things you cannot help your child with.
Research from the Southwest Regional Educational Developmental Laboratory suggests that children with involved parents are more likely to have success at school.
Be an advocate for your child. Sometimes our children struggle in school because of medical issues, psychological problems, or bullying and we have to advocate for them to help them succeed.
- Preparation– Are your kids set up for success? Sometimes lack of preparation can set them up to fail in school. Especially for tweens and teens.
Help them learn good preparation and organizational skills. Buy them a planner to help them plan out tests, studying, and homework. Make sure they have the supplies they need for school.
- Boredom– All kids are different and for some school is just plain boring.
If the subject matter is boring and being taught in an uninteresting way it very well may go over your child’s head.
Help your kids fight boredom by supplementing their worst favorite subjects with fun activities or engaging videos at home.
- Overload– Homework overload is becoming a real problem in a lot of American schools.
There are several ways to help your kids with homework overload including talking with the teacher or principal about your concerns.
How do I motivate my child to get better grades?
Once you know why your child’s grades are suffering you can come up with a plan to help motivate them or support them to get better grades.
- Hire a tutor
- Set up a time to help them with homework or discuss school projects
- Use positive parenting strategies like positive reinforcement
- Read their weekly homework expectations and help them plan for success
- Volunteer in their classroom
- Set up teacher emails or progress meetings
- Help your child address psychological and medical issues with advice from their doctor or therapist
- Be observant of homework or classroom overload
- Be observant of teacher or peer bullying and address it with the school
- Listen to your child. Ask them questions about school and their struggles. Then, be an advocate if needed.
- Find engaging (fun) ways to help your child learn about subjects they struggle with
- Change their learning environment if necessary. Your child may need a new teacher. We started homeschooling one of our children who desperately needed the change!
Do you have a child struggling with grades? How have you been able to help support them! I’d love to hear more in the comments below!