Every parent wants to know that their child is smart. However, how you react to your child’s report card makes all the difference.
Whether your child is a bubbly first grader or a teenager, you want the best for your child. When your child brings home a report card, it is natural to hope that the grades are all great. According to teachers, how you react to your child’s report card is critical to how your child faces learning.
How Parents React to Report Cards
Whether your child has one bad grade or an entire report card of bad grades you need to positive. In some other cases, the grades might have improved, but less than you expected. Regardless of the situation, it is essential that you demonstrate to your child that you still care.
When you are looking for improvement in grades you may overlook teacher comments about progress in other areas. For example, a parent might be tempted to say, “Well, your attitude is better. If only your grades were better, too.” this is neither empowering nor encouraging for your child.
How you react to your child’s report card can impact his motivation, self-esteem and sense of control over his learning. Teachers recommend that you look beyond the grades before you respond.
Consider these common report card scenarios
- Grades improved, but less than you expected.
- Both grades and attitude need improvement.
- Grades have improved since the last report card.
- Grades stayed the same, but attitude and effort improved.
- Some grades improved, and others dropped.
- Your child is failing most classes despite working hard.
- Your child is disappointed he didn’t do better.
- You know he didn’t put in the necessary work.
Teachers Advice to Focus on the Good
For some parents, an easy response to a bad report card is, “I can’t believe your grades are so bad” or “What were you thinking?”
Remember that for children, a report card can be incredibly intimidating and scary. Instead of focusing on one bad grade or even a report card full of grades, try to point out the positive aspects of your child’s report card.
For example, you could say, “This gives you something to strive for,” or “I noticed you got a ‘B’ in Math! That’s great!” Try to find at least one good thing to say to your child. Even if the entire report card is completely rotten, something like, “I know you’re trying your best,” can go a long way in making your child feel loved.
Here are 3 Ways to Handle a Bad Report Card
Get your child the help he needs
Sometimes children just need a little extra help. Whether your child struggles with math, history, or science, it’s important that you recognize when a traditional education isn’t working. While some parents might choose to home educate their children, others find that tutoring can be quite helpful.
If your child’s report cards keep getting worse and worse, a private tutor or even group sessions might prove to be helpful. For parents who cannot afford private tutoring, there are many state-sponsored tutoring services available. Another option would simply be to try to help your child with homework and projects yourself.
If your child is failing most classes despite working hard, if you’re surprised, you might be tempted to say, “You’re failing everything?! I thought you were working hard!” You can say this instead: “I’m really surprised by these grades—I know you worked hard. After we talk about what you think could help you, I’m going to ask for a meeting at school to come up with a better plan.”
Teachers recommend that parents consider that their child’s performance may have little to do with effort in some cases. It could be time to consider an evaluation or revisit his IEP goals. The IEP is an Individualized Education Program. A plan that details the support and services -such as speech therapy or multisensory reading instruction- a school will provide to meet the individual needs of a student with who qualifies for special education.
Remind your child that no one is perfect
Was there a time when you failed? Have you ever struggled to get good grades? Did you ever feel like your parents were disappointed in you? Why not talk with your child about it? Let your little one know that you know what it’s like to feel alone. Let your youngster know that you’ve felt scared, sad, and disappointed before.
Everyone makes mistakes. No one is perfect, no matter how hard they try to be. Let your child know that you’re still proud of them, even if the report card wasn’t perfect.
Questions to ask students/teacher
After the important report card discussion comes the parent-teacher conference. It’s a key step in the partnership between you, your child, and your child’s education.
Often, it can give you insights into your child’s behaviours and weaknesses—things that become evident when he or she is away from home and family members.
Here are some tips on how to make the most of the parent-teacher interview:
1. Be prepared. Bring your child’s report card with you, and know all the details. If relevant, bring last year’s report cards as well. If your child has a grade that doesn’t seem in sync with test marks or project scores, then bring an assignment along as well.
2. Ask your child for insights. “What do you think your teacher will say about you?” is a question that might eliminate any potential surprises. After all, your child spends several hours a day with his teacher.
3. Write a list of questions to ask. There is only one teacher and many parents, so your time with the teacher is limited. If you run out of time, you can leave the list with the teacher, or save it to refer to next time.
4. Take notes. Write down any actions that the teacher has suggested.
5. Don’t be confrontational. A harmonious atmosphere in the spirit of partnership in your child’s education isn’t aided by tension.
6. Leave on a high note. Say, “Thanks for taking the time to talk with me!
•What key areas is Tomiwa strong in?
•Where does Folahan need to improve?
•What can we do to help Temitope achieve improvement?
•As Mary’s teacher, what can you do to initiate improvement?
How to identify areas a child struggles with and how to help
Each child learns differently. Teachers will use many creative methods to teach your child—and the students around him—so they all learn.
Teachers know that students walk into their classrooms with a wide range of abilities. But teachers try to find ways to meet the needs of all students, including those with learning and attention issues. Here are five common teaching methods.
1. Differentiated Instruction
With this approach, teachers change and switch around what students need to learn, how they’ll learn it, and how to get the material across to them. When a student struggles in one area, the teacher creates a plan that includes extra practice, step-by-step directions, and special homework. Find out more about differentiated instruction.
This is a method that breaks learning into chunks. The chunks follow a logical order and move toward a clear goal. Teachers form a bridge between what students already know and what they cannot do on their own. These bridges are referred to as “scaffolds.” They can include charts, pictures and cue cards.
Teachers often use this method by presenting a model of high-quality work before asking students to work on their own. Just as they’re used when constructing buildings, scaffolds are removed when they’re no longer needed.
3. Graphic Organization
Using this method, a teacher draws a picture to map out thoughts and ideas. Graphic organization can help younger students with activities like identifying the characters in a story they’ve read. This can also help them plan and organize a story they’ll write. Older students can “map out” history, like the events leading up to World War II, or compare and contrast people or topics.
Students use special phrases to help them remember information. Here’s an example: Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally is often used to remember the order of operations in math: Parentheses, Exponents, Multiply, Divide, Add and Subtract.
This strategy can also help with learning vocabulary. For example, a child can learn the scientific name for the common frog, Ranidae, by using rain as the keyword along with a picture of a frog sitting in the rain.
5. Multisensory Instruction
This method links what students see, what they hear, how they move, and what they feel. When students learn using all of their senses, they remember the material better. Math teachers might use base ten blocks and two-sided counters so that students learn through touch. Drawing might help students learn new vocabulary by capturing the meaning of a word and sketching it.
•Mapping out ideas using pictures and charts is especially effective with struggling students.
•Strategies that involve memorizing phrases help students remember concepts longer.
•When students use all their senses, they remember the material better.
Four reactions that discourage your child
As parents, we want to build our children up so they are confident, strong, and independent. We make parenting decisions that will shape the future lives of our children every day, but are we making the right choices?
What if we are discouraging our children despite our best intentions?
You may be eagerly learning how to motivate your child with all sorts of techniques, but unfortunately, you may also be sabotaging your efforts by unknowingly discouraging your child through your words and actions.
Before you start shaking your head and insisting that you would never do such a thing, notice the word “unknowingly” in that sentence – you have done it without knowing, just like virtually all loving parents with good intentions.
In this article, you will discover four common ways we unknowingly discourage our children in their learning and interests. You may be surprised at how often you may have done the things below!
1. Too much criticism, not enough praise
All children need to be given correction and direction, but it can become discouraging to your child when good behaviour and achievements are ignored. They are repeatedly told what they are doing wrong, but rarely hear what they are doing right. By doing so, we are sending the message that their bad behaviour is more important than their good behaviour when the fact is positive reinforcement has a greater effect on young children.
Solution: spend just as much time praising good work as we spend correcting or criticising. Try this: for every time you point out something your child has done wrong or can improve on (“you made a simple spelling mistake here,”) come up with something positive to say to your child (“I like the way you describe the fairy in your composition”).
2. You don’t take your child seriously
How do you respond when your child declares that he or she loves cats and wants to befriend the stray cats running around the neighbourhood? Do you instantly warn them that they’re not to mess with stray cats? This makes sense to parents since it seems as if your child just wants to play, and stray cats may bite or carry germs and diseases.
Unfortunately, what the child hears is that they cannot do something they really want to do. If they really do love cats and want to connect with them, they are led to believe that they cannot do that or that it is a bad idea. Their passion is crushed.
Solution: encourage dreams while eliminating the danger. In the example of the child’s fascination with cats, we could check out library books about cats and discuss the options of becoming a veterinarian when they grow up. While they learn that stray cats are not safe, their interest is not dismissed or shutdown. A more dangerous scenario, however, is when you belittle your child’s efforts.
Be honest: have you ever said things like “Your grades aren’t good enough for you to be a doctor” or “How can you write a love song? You’re only 10 years old!” to your child? While you may have only been joking, the indirect message you’ve sent is that he cannot possibly realize those ambitions and should go for something easier.
Remember: it’s never too soon for your child to know what he or she likes. Their interest may be passing, or it may spark a fire of passion that fuels their entire life. If your child can sense that you are taking them seriously, they will also become more serious about everything they say and do.
3. You’re setting unrealistic expectations
On the other extreme, it’s easy to expect more of our children than they are reasonably able to accomplish at their age or with their physical and mental abilities. We want to set them up for an amazing future, and we know that that future depends on their accomplishments and attitudes today.
But like hurdles that are simply too high for your child to jump at his age, unrealistic expectations and goals set the child up for one failure after another. We may encourage them to try harder, but all we are doing is discouraging them through the failure.
Solution: despite wanting the best for our children, we have to get real about what they’re capable of achieving. Hard as it may be to believe and accept, we must remember children develop at their own pace – that doesn’t mean they will be less successful in later life. If your child is constantly failing to reach the goals that you’ve set, you can assume those goals are in some way unrealistic for him or her and try to modify them to suit your child’s needs.
4. You don’t allow your child to perform tasks independently
If even the small accomplishments are to be recognized positively, children must be allowed to perform tasks independently. This is how they learn new skills and develop confidence. As parents, however, we often want to step in and give a helping hand or improve on what they’ve done. For instance, do you ask your child to make his/her bed, only to redo it later because it wasn’t neat enough? This sends the message that they are incapable of doing things on their own. It discourages them from even trying, and in future, you may hear the frustrated retort: “Why ask me to do it when you’re just going to redo it anyway?”
Solution: allow your child to try things on his own before help is offered. If your child is insistent that he can do something, let go of your control and let him have a shot. More importantly, don’t criticise them when they don’t do it the same way we do. Let them do things in their own style. You may even want to compare methods with your child to help them learn. You may even be surprised when your child comes up with more creative and effective way of doing something as simple as a Sudoku puzzle!
Although it’s not possible to be constantly 100% aware of our words and actions, we can try our best as parents to be supportive and motivate our child not just in their behaviour, but in their interests as well. This will help them become independent, industrious, and resourceful individuals as they grow up.
Finally, open the lines of communication by guessing what your child is feeling and what your child’s underlying needs might be.