My child is not doing that great: Here’s how to help

Every parent wants their child to succeed, but not every child can do so without additional support. As a parent, you need to pay attention to your child’s progress and help them when necessary. Learn how to help an underperforming child and set them up for success.

Identify the problem

The ultimate goal is to figure out why your child is underperforming and then address the issue. However, that is much easier said than done and you may need to try several different methods to figure out why they are struggling.


Talk to them

Start by talking to your child. See if there is something that is interfering with their learning. In the best-case scenario, your child will know what is getting in their way, but this is not always the case. For example, maybe your child gets distracted during lessons or does not do well with a particular type of learning and knows it.


Talk to their teacher

You should also talk to your child’s teacher to see if they have any insights. Their training and experience mean that they are familiar with how to help an underperforming child, so they will likely have some good advice. Even if the teacher does not know why your child is underperforming, they may have noticed something you did not, such as a specific area in which your child struggles. This can still be incredibly helpful.


Get an educational evaluation

Consider getting an educational evaluation for your child. These evaluations will assess strengths and weaknesses while also looking for learning disabilities that may be interfering. If learning disabilities are at play, then how to help an underperforming child will mean finding ways to overcome those learning disabilities.


Consider a doctor’s appointment

A child struggling academically may also be due to a behavioral or developmental problem that their pediatrician should be able to pinpoint. One example would be attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Researchers estimate that globally, around 7.2 per cent of children have ADHD.


Get support in the problem subject

In the case of a child struggling in a particular subject without any clear reason why, then do your best to provide them with additional support and resources. You may be able to provide this yourself, but it is frequently best to use a professional tutor or a professionally designed program to supplement your child’s in-school learning.


Provide homework help

In most cases, a parent’s role in homework help is to make sure that children sit down and focus on their tasks. In some cases, however, you need to do more than this. If you are trying to learn how to help an underperforming child, you may need to provide more assistance and walk them through a few homework problems. If you do not feel comfortable offering this homework help yourself, you can also hire a tutor to do so.


Do not be afraid of learning support

If your child is seriously struggling and has issues with both the concepts taught and forming good study habits, you may want to work with an educational therapist. They can help your child strengthen their skills. Once those skills are stronger, your child should be better equipped to keep up with their lessons.


Limit the time spent on the assignment

When it comes to homework or even a specific lesson, do not let your child waste hours and hours on it if they are struggling. This will only lead to frustration. Most younger children are not expected to do more than a half-hour of homework or so for any subject. If your child actively tries for this long and cannot complete the assignment, then let them leave it. In this case, write a note for their teacher. Remember that experts suggest students in primary school only spend 45 to 75 minutes on homework per night.


Allow for breaks

In addition to putting a time limit on how long your child will spend on a given assignment or lesson, encourage breaks when they are needed. If your child is struggling, a break can do them a world of good. During the short break, do not mention the assignment or even school at all. When the break is over, let your child start from the beginning or where they left off. This lets them “save face” and helps reduce frustration and outbursts.


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