For parents of school-aged children, one of the more frustrating things to watch is an underperforming child who gets bad grades. You know your child is smart and capable of getting good grades, but somehow they’re barely passing. What, if anything, can you do about it?
7 Steps for Helping Children Improve Grades
As a parent, you have a duty to help your children grow into the best versions of themselves that they can possibly become. This is easier in some areas than others.
For parents of school-aged children, grades tend to be a big point of contention. If this is true in your household, here are some steps you can take to help your kids improve their grades over time.
1. Create Screen-Free Times/Zones
Are you setting your child up for success? You have to remember that your child doesn’t have the same discipline that you have as an adult. If something is distracting, he’s going to gravitate towards it (instead of studying).
Do your child a favor and create screen-free times and zones where phones, TVs, tablets, video games, and computers aren’t allowed. By removing these distractions, you can help your student focus without so many things competing for his attention.
2. Supplement Classroom Teaching With Outside Help
If your child is really struggling in certain classes and doesn’t seem to grasp even the most basic concepts, it’s possible that he’s having a hard time connecting with the teacher’s style of conveying information. One good option is to get some outside help.
Tutors can be hired in a number of ways, but one of the easiest, cheapest, and most convenient options is to try online courses. The beauty of online courses is that they can be accessed at any time, paused, rewound, and quickly referenced. One-on-one tutors are also an option if you can find someone credible in your area.
3. Help With Organization
Organization outside of the classroom plays a big role in success inside the classroom. If your child is constantly losing assignments, misplacing books, and having a hard time locating important papers, good grades are going to be hard to come by.
It’s ultimately up to your child to stay organized, but you can help them get on the right path. Buy them binders and folders for each class and clearly label them. Make sure there’s a section for new assignments that have yet to be completed, as well as a section for completed assignments that are ready to be turned in. It’s also smart to get your child a day planner where you can both mark important due dates ahead of time.
4. Encourage Good Sleep
How much sleep are your children getting? If they’re getting less than the recommended amount, then their grades may be suffering as a result. According to a study on sleep and academic performance, children with excellent quality of sleep perform significantly better in math and language than children with average or poor quality of sleep. You might have to start enforcing a bedtime!
5. Reward Good Grades
Younger children need to understand the importance of good grades. The easiest way to do this is by rewarding them for their performance. Simple congratulatory words are great, but don’t underestimate the value of tangible rewards. Getting ice cream after an A on a big test can show a young child how important their grades really are.
6. Communicate With Teachers
Your relationship with your child’s teachers can go a long way towards helping improve performance in the classroom. In a good school, you’ll find that most teachers want your child to succeed just as much as you. Consider setting up a parent-teacher conference once every few weeks (either by phone or in person) to get a feel for what’s really going on.
7. Let Kids be Kids
Discipline, accountability, and encouragement are all important, but don’t lose sight of the fact that kids need to be kids. If the only conversations you have with your 14-year-old daughter are about her grades, then you’re missing the point. Kids need time to play, socialize, and enjoy life. Be sure that you’re helping them find a balance.
Take an Age-Appropriate Approach
All children shouldn’t be treated the same. When it comes to your child’s grades, think about their age, abilities, and effort. For example, a fifth grader who is struggling in math shouldn’t be hounded as much as a junior in high school with aspirations of applying to colleges the following year.
From a parental perspective, the goal should always be to help your child maximize their abilities. You can’t make someone consistently outperform their own intelligence. Trying to force a child to come home with straight A’s when he has a learning disability isn’t practical or healthy. Just as letting an incredibly smart child settle for C’s and D’s isn’t doing any favors to anyone.
It’s also fairly easy to analyze effort. Is your student making time to study outside of the classroom in areas where she struggles? Or does she not seem to care? If you know your child is trying really hard to improve her grades but still can’t, you don’t need to be nearly as hard on her.