How to Help a Child with Failing Grades

Does your child have failing grades at school or is he or she at risk of this happening? Here are a few tips to help your child get back on track academically.

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Can I Help My Child Get Passing Grades?

Having a child with failing grades can be challenging. There are no foolproof ways to deal with this situation and you'll hear many differing theories and opinions. The best place to start may be to find out what's causing the issue with your child. The following suggestions are by no means inflexible laws, but tips on ways you can help your child improve and get the help that he or she needs.

Determining the Problem

If your child has failing grades, the first step will usually be to meet with his or her teachers and school counselors to discuss academic performance. There are a variety of factors that could potentially be contributing to this situation, from poor study habits to an undetected learning disability.

Some teachers and in-school learning experts are willing to meet with students before or after school. When you meet with your child's teachers, ask if they're willing to give your child extra help or if your child's school employs professionals who will. With a lot of support and encouragement from parents and teachers, many children with failing grades can improve their performance. However, every case varies and it's necessary to first determine the best plan of action based upon the specific needs of your child.

Changing Your Child's Habits

When your child is struggling in school, it can be difficult for him or her to feel motivated. If your child has failing grades he or she might exhibit learned helplessness, which is when a child feels like there's no point in trying because he or she will never be successful. Many children with learned helplessness lose extra points by failing to turn in assignments or participating in class. Your child may need a renewed sense of confidence and self-esteem in order to move forward in a positive direction.

It's also likely that your child has developed poor study habits and organizational skills. Your child may struggle with his or her ability to concentrate for the extended periods of time necessary to complete assignments, study for tests and retain new information. Combined with a growing lack of confidence and the resulting apathy, these factors can create a downward spiral. Consider setting aside a dedicated workspace at home where you and your child can sit at the same time each day to help rebuild his or her approach to school work.

In order to help your child feel more confident, break down assignments and lessons into small, easily doable segments. For example, rather than asking your son or daughter to write a paper that's a large portion of his or her grade, help your child create an outline and work through the paper section by section by giving feedback on each part. Going from failing grades to a report card that your child can be proud of won't be an overnight process, so do your best to motivate, but also be positive and patient.

Getting Extra Help outside of School

It's possible that you're too busy to help your child or the problem is too severe for you to handle yourself. Support from your child's school can be useful, but it may be necessary to seek additional help. One way to do so is by hiring a tutor to help your child with his or her exact needs. There are a number of different kinds of tutors to choose from depending upon your budget. Private in-home tutors, learning centers and online tutoring agencies are all options for your child.

It may also be necessary for your child to see a psychologist or a learning expert outside of school. Your child may be failing due to a learning disability, psychological condition or physical condition. You can contact a variety of doctors and child-learning experts in clinics and hospitals across the country to seek professional help.

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