It’s heartbreaking to see your child struggle at school — whether it’s with reading, writing, social activities other more. Fortunately, there are things you can do that could make a big difference! Below, we share several ways you can take action to support your child during their school years.
Identifying the Struggle
If your child is struggling in school, you might not know it at first. Here’s some behaviours that can signal your child is starting to have difficulties:
- They don’t want to talk about school or about specific subjects
- Their attitude about school changes suddenly
- They are spending an excessive amount of time on homework
- They start to get in trouble at school or exhibit destructive behaviours
- Their teacher shares his or her concerns
- Their sleeping or eating habits change
Remember, that these are only signals. Just because your child is exhibiting one or more of these behaviours, does not automatically mean that they are struggling in school.
What You Can Do
Here are four powerful things that you can do to help your child:
- Consider a psycho-educational assessment so you can pinpoint areas where they may need support
- Hire a tutor to work with them one on one in the area that they need help in
- Help them increase their reading attention by following these foundational ideas
- Help them to get the right amount of sleep and the right foods to eat
1. Get Assessed
Learning disabilities affect up to 10% of children, translating to 2-3 kids in every classroom. When administered by a trained professional, a psycho-educational assessment can help uncover any mental blocks, difficulties with focus, and/or difficulties integrating and synthesizing information. When appropriate, it can provide a diagnosis, prognosis and treatment plan to help him or her overcome school-related challenges.
A psychology and counselling service like Bhatia Psychology Group can provide a variety of assessment tests to help your child.
2. Hire a Tutor
Every child learns in their own way at their own pace — and at some point during their academic journey, they might need a little extra help.
Working with an after-school tutor not only gives your child one-on-one practice in their area of struggle, but it can also lead to a boost of confidence in the classroom.
There are many options for tutoring, often through the school, and sometimes with older students (such as high school or University level students). Some community groups or private services also offer educational support for children. As little as once per week or even biweekly can make a big difference.
3. Read with them
For kids of all ages, reading is one of the biggest challenges they’ll face throughout their school years. There’s so much more to it than learning the alphabet and putting sounds together — especially as they get older, their attention span and pace play an important role in all of their learning (and confidence).
There are several ways you can help your child develop and strengthen their reading skills:
- Set reading time goals. For example, have them start with small amounts of time and gradually increase the length of their reading sessions (for example, 5 minutes on week 1, 6 minutes on week 2, 7 minutes on week 3, etc.)
- Help them create an environment for reading. Work together to set up a reading space — a place they can feel comfortable, promotes good posture and has good lighting. Make sure it’s a quiet place free from distractions, like music or smartphones.
- Celebrate and reward! When your child reaches their reading goals, make sure to celebrate. Try simple rewards like daily stickers on a chart, or a bigger reward like doing a special activity together.
4. Good Nutrition and Sleep Habits
Many studies have shown that children who don’t sleep enough get lower grades — try to aim for 9 to 9.5 hours of sleep each night. One way to ensure they get enough sleep on a consistent basis is by having the same bedtime and wake-up time every day.
Research has shown that diet impacts reading tests. Students who ate fruit, vegetables, protein and fibre, while avoiding saturated fat, scored better on reading tests. This starts with making sure your child has a healthy breakfast, lunch and snacks throughout the day.
We hope you find the above tips and ideas to be helpful. Remember that every child is different and their needs are just as unique. And we all face some bumps or challenges every now and then — it’s always OK (and recommended!) to ask for help.
Parenting isn’t always easy, but the team at Bhatia Psychology Group is here to help.