Help! My Child is Struggling in School!
Updated: Jul 9
Five Tips to Help Your Learner be an Achiever
By: Melissa De Los Santos
Find out exactly what is challenging them
Is your elementary child having a hard time with long division? Are they confused by the phrasing of the question? Are they able to see clearly or is their vision a bit blurry?
When you figure out specifically what your child is struggling with, it is easier to come up with focused — and consequently, more effective — solutions.
If your child is challenged by long division, they might need help with either remembering the steps or their multiplication table. If they are confused with the wording in a question, they can pinpoint the specific phrase they don’t understand and clarify its meaning with you or their teacher. If your child’s vision is blurry enough that they have a hard time during lessons or while they are doing classwork, then a visit to the optometrist will straighten it out immediately.
Zeroing in on your child’s specific challenge will not only resolve their problem, but also ease the negative feelings that may have developed towards schoolwork.
Give them a break
“I’m so frustrated! I don’t like math!” — Is this something your child would say?
Schoolwork can get a little tricky, and sometimes, the best thing to do is to take a break. The more frustrated your child gets, the less they will understand their classwork. When your child gets exasperated, let them take a five-minute break so they can recompose themselves before continuing. Let them express their frustration, take a walk, or even just put their head down and close their eyes. This short break will help them release those negative feelings. After that, they can refocus on the concept and they will have a clearer head to answer that tricky question.
Let your child make mistakes
While you’re looking over your child’s homework, you notice multiple mistakes. Fight the urge to correct them!
Correcting your child’s work is very tempting, but you might be depriving your child of the help they need from their teachers. Even if you are correcting their mistakes, your child may not fully understand why their answer was wrong in the first place. Teachers, in fact, prefer students to work on their own. Once the teacher realizes that your student is challenged by the concept, it is a hint that they need to revisit that lesson and use different strategies to explain it better.
Help your child get organized
Sometimes, the biggest challenge for children is time management. They don’t know how much time to spend on that one challenging math problem, or how quick is too quick in terms of finishing a test. Remind them that when they are struggling with a question, they should give themselves five minutes to try and solve it. If the material still proves tricky after those five minutes, they should move on to other questions. They can easily go back to the challenging ones later on.
Another big help for children is to keep themselves organized — this means they should know all the things they have to do for school, and of course, they should have the materials for them as well. Nothing can frustrate a child more than not having everything they need with them. Make sure they have a checklist for both tasks and materials so they can be a little more confident about doing their school work.
Talk to your child’s teacher
The teacher is a vital partner in your child’s educational journey. It is important to communicate with them, especially with essential information like your child being challenged too much at school. The teacher may have observed the same things, and can most likely give you tips on how to handle the situation.
You can also collaborate on a long-term solution that can be applied both at school and at home because this consistency will definitely help the child. Talk about your expectations for your child, what rules you enforce at home, and the strategies you have tried to help your child. Once everyone is on the same page, it will be much easier to help your child build those essential skills to succeed in school.