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  • Writer's pictureJenetta Haim

Is your child falling behind at school?

There could be lots of reasons why your child struggles at school. Often as parents we have trouble understanding why this happens. Let’s take a look at some of the reason, some of many. We try to think of obvious things first but are there other reasons, less obvious like the way they act out at home or even bullying?


It’s very important to discover the issue as soon as possible. When a child stops connecting with you and gives you half answers that’s the danger sign that something is very wrong in their life. This lack of communication flows on to the way they interact with their friends, in class, in sport, everywhere eventually.


Is the work too hard?

So why is your child struggling? Could it be that the work is just too hard? Sometimes kids want to excel and understand the work but just can’t keep up. Then they start to feel silly about asking questions so they don’t and instead play up in class by talking or distracting classmates.

Some children are embarrassed to admit they don’t understand the subject. Watch out for this and check their work to see if they understand what they are doing every now and then. If they don’t then a tutor can often help by stepping in for an hour or two a week and helping.


Trouble concentrating?

Does your child find it hard to sit still? Hard to concentrate and listen? Could it be they have difficulty hearing or seeing what the teacher is writing? Then they lose interest and play up in class. Children with hearing and sight difficulties often switch off and hide their issues. They may need to spend a lot of time struggling to do the homework or feel ‘dumb’. Keep a check on your child’s hearing and sight issues or even go to the doctor for an eye test if you think something is wrong.


Anxiety, stress, depression

Is your child anxious? Do they get extra nervous before exams? Are they too demanding of themselves and their abilities? Perfectionists? What is their sleep like and their social abilities? As a parent if your child is getting sick before every test or exam, spending over midnight many nights to do last minute assignments and trying to work part time they will suffer from burnout and their mental health will suffer. This is avoidable by balancing their schoolwork with lots of outdoor fun activities and social activities with friends, not just family as they need to have the confidence to establish their own friendships.


Boredom

If your child is really bright they may find the class they are in at school is not challenging enough and become bored in class. Sometimes they shut down about what happens at school or even complain class is boring. Gifted children don’t need the same type of work as others. Gifted children may also struggle socially if their friends have a different level of understanding and perspective. Does your child fall under this umbrella?


Bullying

What about bullying. A child that is bullied withdraws. Even from friends and family. They have trouble eating, sleeping, and going to school. Social media is in many ways responsible for cyber bullying which happens more than you think. Children can be trolled online, unfriended or excluded from groups and the lack of confidence it instils in your child needs serious attention. If you are not happy with the school counsellor and how they handle it make noise. Lots of noise. Bullying can affect your child the rest of their lives. Don’t accept it and seek professional medical help for your child to heal the emotional wounds. This is yet another way their academic performance can and will be affected.  


Could it be at home?

Lastly let’s look if there are problems at home. Does your child have a quiet separate area to study where they are not on the internet or on their phone and just hit the books? Are they always fighting with their siblings? Is there a separation or divorce. Have they moved house and not settled in or are their parents travelling a lot for work? All these things unsettle a child’s learning.

What about finances? Hearing you talk to your partner about finance difficulties will impact your child. Many issues need to be just between adults. All these issues that can bother a child can act out as anger, tears, sadness, loneliness and affect their marks and how they socialise.


Don’t throw your child out in the cold

Sometimes I have to smile to myself when a parent tells me their 16 or 18 year old needs to make grown up decisions. Do you really need them to ‘grow up’ that fast? We tend to push our kids out into the world and sometimes it’s too much for them. Eighteen is really still a kid. At eighteen what did you know about life? Think back – very little. Why does your child have to face this often so hard world head on at such a young age? They don’t. Can’t you be a mum or dad just a bit longer? Sure it’s hard to bring up kids, no denying but they need you.


They need you to teach them to have confidence in themselves, to be independent when they are old enough. They need you to teach them right from wrong, how to use money wisely, how to take their place in the world, how not to let others use and abuse them and how to be a good person in general. What example are you setting? With kids its ‘do as I do’ sometimes not ‘do as I say’. How can you expect your child to do something you don’t? It’s hard being a parent. It’s hard being on call 24/7 for 18 or 20 years but look what you got to show for it.


The benefits

A wonderful sensitive human being who can contribute and take their place in this world that you can be proud of and they can be proud of themselves. It’s you that can help them get back on track, overcome difficulties and learn valuable life skills. So if you feel your child is falling behind then find out why and act on it. The rewards of that action are immeasurable.


If your child is falling behind at school we can help. We do one on one tuition working on your child weaknesses either at home or online. Often online is better as it prepares your child for a future in a technological world. Give us a call now to find out how we can help your child overcome the barriers they face in their school life.

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