Although there are many things more important, such as their physical well-being and mental health, no parent can deny the importance of getting good grades in school. While not attaining educational excellence isn’t going to be the end of anyone’s life, performing well in school is going to open up the doors for many more opportunities for them. As such, when your child’s grades start to fail, then you should take a comprehensive approach to start helping them catch back up and to reach their true potential. Here, we’re going to look at a range of strategies to do just that.
A Comprehensive Approach To Improving Your Teen’s Grades
image from Pexels
Work out if there are any immediate issues
If you are noticing a steep decline in your child’s grades, then there’s a good chance that something has begun to acutely influence their studying and homework efforts. It could be something as simple as they’ve gotten a little too into a videogame they picked up recently, down to the fact that they have a teacher who isn’t treating them well at school, making schoolwork much more stressful. Talk to your teen about what’s going on, and if there’s anything different lately that’s making school more difficult. Now, some teens will take the opportunity to divert attention, but you should avoid your urge to be skeptical of the shenanigans that kids can get up to, and to take their concerns at face value. If it leads to a positive change in their grades and engagement with education, then that’s what really matters.
Focus on their mental health
If something is bothering your teen, it may not be something quite as acute as the examples named above. It could be a more general combination of factors that are all weighing down on them, to the point that it begins to affect their mental health. Stress, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues all become a lot more prevalent as we go through our teenage years, in part due to the raging nature of hormones, but societal and home factors can play into it as well. Talking to your child about their feelings and making help available can be crucial for helping them find some balance in their life.
Make sure that you have downtime, too
The push for good grades can take a lot of your focus and efforts, and sometimes even you may start to feel the strain of trying that hard on your kid’s education. When you start to feel that, imagine how your kid must feel and be aware of when they need a break. You have to incorporate breaks regularly when they’re studying and doing homework to avoid it becoming too stressful, but you should also have days where you have a work break, keeping their brain active with family activities, but letting them divert their attention away from school and studying.
Attend the meetings that you should
It’s okay to admit it: being engaged with your kid’s school can be boring, and can take effort and energy, especially if you have other kids, a career, and other responsibilities on your plate. However, if you’re going to encourage your kid to step up, then you have to be ready to do the same. The most important times for a parent to make themselves available are during parent-teacher conferences so that they’re plugged into how their kid’s teachers are engaging with them. Back-to-school nights can be very useful for helping parents make changes to studying habits and the like as their kids get into a new grade, with new expectations and aims.
image from Pexels
Rethink how you motivate your kids
Engagement and success in education is a pretty complex subject, so trying to boil it down to only the bluntest methods of improving results is often not effective. When it comes to motivation, you have to make sure that you’re not relying entirely on external motivators. This might include things like pocket money or giving them physical rewards after they have done their work or, on the other hand, punishing them when they have failed to either meet grades or do the work that they expected to. If the motivators are temporary, then the motivation will be temporary, as well. Finding the right way to intrinsically motivate them should be the key, to making them feel like they have some sense of agency and goal beyond getting homework done or studying this or that part of the curriculum.
Help them keep their studies fresh
If your kid is really putting in the effort to study, then they’re likely going to be going back over their notes as well as the textbook to engage with the subject matter as comprehensively as they can. However, if they’re not able to improve their understanding from that alone, then you might want to look at different ways to engage with them. This can include using multimedia like educational videos and online courses, but emulating the conditions of a test, such as with highschool worksheets can be very effective as well. Help them find new ways to engage with their curriculum.
Make sure that they have a good environment to work in
It’s not always easy to work or study at home. Especially if you have siblings that you have to share space with. If you’re not able to provide an environment where your kid can work, free from distractions, then you shouldn’t be surprised when they cite problems focusing on their work. Create a good study environment for them, whether it’s in their bedroom, office, or otherwise. It should provide not just the furniture they need, such as a desk and a decent chair, but the ability to avoid distraction, such as by being in a part of the home where you disallow interruptions unless strictly necessary.
Be aware of expectations for your teen
As your kid gets older, then the expectations on their time are going to get more intense and more demanding. As grades become more important for college plans and what happens beyond school, you need to make sure that you’re keeping up with it. At the same time, your teen will be growing a more socially complex and active life and may want to look into starting a job. As such, you may need to become more aware of what kind of homework and studying expectations their teachers have for them so that you can make sure they’re not allowing other priorities to overtake their schooling.
Consider the role of learning disability
It may not be something that a parent wants to think about in regard to their child, largely because we still have such a big stigma regarding mental health in our society, but there has been a growing rate of diagnosing neuroatypical teenagers, and it’s not because we’re coddling them, it’s because the tools for recognition and diagnosis have improved so much. This has led to growing rates of ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, as well as things like dyslexia and dyscalculia. Getting a diagnosis of any of these conditions can mean learning to adapt to new barriers, but it can also mean discovering new tools to help your teen study and reach the kind of potential that they should have beforehand.
Good morning and evening routines are crucial
Good performance at school, as well as the ability to engage with homework and study well at home, is all one part of their daily routine. In order to improve one part of the routine, you should look at the other parts of that routine, as well. This begins with the start of the day, as healthy breakfast foods, including whole grains, protein, and fiber, can improve a kid’s concentration and energy levels throughout the day. Perhaps even more important than a good breakfast is a good night’s sleep, however. The average teenager needs between 8-10 hours of sleep, and if you have to enforce a curfew and take away their smartphones at 10 pm, then so be it.
Help them build studying habits geared toward success
Some parents don’t want to hear it and would be quick to assume that their kid is lazy, but studying is a skill, one that’s built through habit and understanding. As such, you can help your kid improve this skill in a variety of ways. You can create a weekly planner as well as a daily checklist that helps them ensure that they are keeping on top of their schooling while still making room for socializing and other responsibilities. You can also create study checklists with them, to make sure that they’re covering all of their curriculum. If they have any issues getting to study, then address them as a team, clearing any obstacles to ease their efforts.
Alongside getting good grades, you have to make sure that your efforts are aligned with the goal of giving your kid a full and robust education. It takes ongoing effort, but the tips above can point you in the right direction.