Many children struggle at school, either academically, socially, or both. These types of difficulties can arise suddenly or gradually worsen over time.
- Increased academic work demands
- Child’s learning style is not compatible with teacher/school’s teaching model
- Social difficulties (e.g., poor social skills, victim of relational or physical bullying)
- Emotional distress stemming from environmental triggers (e.g., parent’s divorce)
- Underlying mood issue
- Unrecognized learning disability, attention deficit or executive skills deficit
As school resumes, many children struggle to acclimate to the new work demands. Compared to the summer or vacation schedule, they are not ready for the pressures and time demands of school structure and homework. Lack of motivation, challenging coursework, and/or emotionally charged family dynamics can lead to frustration and homework refusal or avoidance.
Here are some strategies to help your child do to better at school:
- Intervene early – as soon as you notice his/her grades dropping or homework difficulties, make a plan and talk to the school.
- Study zone – create routines and structured time for homework and studying. Create a schedule together and make it readily visible. Remove distractions.
- Offer rewards – select mutually acceptable rewards for effort as well as grades. Give lots of verbal praise when they show initiative and follow through.
- Help with homework – show interest in helping them learn without doing the work for them. Ask questions about favorite subjects and types of homework problems.
- Get involved at school – have regular contact with the teacher and support staff. Brainstorm with teachers and administrators on potential improvements.
- Get an evaluation – check for any learning, speech, cognitive, neurological, motor, or emotional issues that could be interfering with your child’s performance.
Written by Joshua Rosenthal, PsyD