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By Krystal Rinyu

How to identify (and help) your child if they are falling behind in school

One of the most important tools parents can have when it comes to their child’s education is to have a good rapport with their child’s teachers. Create a dialogue with them and be as involved in your child’s schooling as you can be. This not only means attending parent-teacher conferences when they come about but also paying close attention to the grades your child is receiving on their tests and homework assignments.

Teachers who see that you are willing to put in the effort to help your child succeed are more likely to come to you with problems they see. If they don’t? Well, then it is your job as a parent to bring your questions and concerns to the teacher’s attention and to make sure they are addressed satisfactorily.

Have you noticed a sudden decline in your child’s school performance? The first step is to talk to them directly. Find out if they may have failed a test because they neglected to study for it, or if their homework grades are less than satisfactory because they have not completed their assignments, or perhaps they aren’t putting in the effort they should be.

After making sure your child is doing their best, go over their homework assignments with them. Go over the test questions they got wrong and see if you can figure out where the issue is. Then open a dialogue with their teachers; I cannot stress how important this is! Explain to them that you have noticed the decline in your child’s work and would like to explore your options.

If it is something your child simply does not understand, perhaps the teacher can offer extra one-on-one time with them, or maybe the school offers an after-school tutoring program. If those things are not available to you, use your at-home computer to research tutors in your area. If you cannot find a private tutor, or cannot afford one, there are numerous websites dedicated to online homework help. Only you know your child, and therefore what method would work best for them.

Another valuable thing that you can do as a parent is to set aside some time every night to go over your child’s work with them, whether it be homework or class work. You might even come up with some additional “at home” work that your child can complete to help cement their understanding of a certain topic.

Just remember, if you decide to go this route, that your child may become upset, overly frustrated or even angry if they are having a difficult time with a certain concept. The best thing you can do is be patient and encourage them. Even if they need extra help, it will do them (and their self-esteem) a world of good to know that their parent is fully behind them and offering not only support but encouragement, as well. You would be surprised how just knowing their parents believe in them can help a child.

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