School can be stressful for many kids. Kids are judged by their peers on their appearance. They are criticized if they’re not wearing the latest clothing styles or fashions that are “in,” whether their family can afford those items or not. Social life is another big stressor. Kids are judged for not being in the popular clique, having the wrong friends or simply not having friends at all.
Another source of stress and anxiety for most school-age kids and teens is their coursework. Kids are expected by their parents, classmates and sometimes themselves to do the very best on every assignment, group project, test, and quiz. They sometimes feel like a failure when they don’t get the best marks in class, or get a bad grade on a test or assignment. They worry that those blemishes will prevent them from getting into their ideal college later on.
Many kids also have to balance work, volunteer hours and other responsibilities along with their classwork and peer pressure at school. It’s no wonder so many of them have stress, anxiety, and depression. They’re expected to deal with a lot at a relatively young age. They are still growing up and trying to figure out who they are and what they want to do with their lives.
If your child fails a class, here are a few tips to help turn things around:
1. Add more study time.
If a child is having difficulty understanding a particular subject, they should probably spend more time on it. Adding an extra half-hour to an hour of study time each day devoted to that subject can help them take the added time they need to focus on it without distractions. Study time should be free of TV, music, video games, cell phones and anything else that can cause them to lose concentration.
2. Keep an open mind.
Let’s face it: none of us are perfect. We all excel at certain things and are less adept at others. When a child is having trouble with a class or is in danger of failing, take some time to sit down and talk with them in a calm, rational manner. Try to understand things from their perspective, and make a conscious effort to see why they are having problems. Kids are enough stress as it is, and shaming them or making them feel bad can only make things worse. Have a sympathetic ear, and work with them to resolve the issue.
3. Ask for outside help if needed.
It’s perfectly okay to ask for help. Talking to the teacher or adviser to ask for clarification or additional help could improve things. If that doesn’t work, there are outside tutoring services that can help. There are sites including FindATutorNearMe.com and others that excel at giving students the assistance they need. Take some time to read about their rates, success stories, and in-person or online tutoring options.
4. Use downtime to catch up.
Spring break or summer are great times for students to catch up on assignments and other material. Instead of goofing off or going on vacation, they can dedicate their downtime to learning and understanding the material that’s been giving them difficulties. The more devoted and focused a student is, the more chances for success they will have.
These are just some of the many ways to help a child who is failing a class. They probably already feel bad about it and themselves, so keeping a positive attitude is key. If they want things to turn around, they have to put forth the effort. Encouraging them as much as possible can help to keep them motivated. Staying on target, increasing effort and seeking help when necessary can put them back on track towards having an excellent academic year.