For most parents, school and their kid’s desire to get educated (or, should I better say, the lack of thereof?), are among the biggest child-raising challenges they face. When your smart, beautiful child refuses to make the full use of his potential and comes home from school with disastrous grades, you decide to step in and change the situation. The approach is different for different kids, but, as the experience of most parents proves, becoming more invested in the academic life of your child and attempting to motivate him to reach better results for the sake of his own future may have two completely opposite effects.
Some children manage to come to the conclusion that working on their own education is a highly beneficial thing, and, with the help of parents, teachers and sometimes tutors, they improve their grades and continue doing great at school from that point onward. Others may even start doing worse after hearing the concerns expressed by their parents and being criticized for their laziness, irresponsibility, poor judgments, faulty decisions and the lack of aspirations.
How to determine the ultimate culprits behind your child’s academic troubles? How can you reach the point when your child is motivated enough to do his homework and study hard without any parental pushing and supervision? How to make sure that your kid receives the help he needs to succeed in school and raise an independent individual at the same time? Should parents punish their kids for bad grades? And finally, how can parents help their kids improve their grades without making them feel miserable, stupid and unworthy?
Tips to help your kids improve their grades
1. Look deeper into the problem
The first thing you need to do if you want to help your child improve his grades is to actually determine why they’re not as great as they could be. There’re numerous reasons why children have problems when it comes to academic success, and most of them have nothing to do with their learning abilities.
A lot of kids just lack motivation and don’t see the purpose of learning in general or paying a lot of attention to subjects they think they won’t need in the future. The lack of routine, self-organization and time management skills is also a rather common issue. Some kids, despite spending a decent amount of time on studying and actually knowing a lot, just don’t do great in the school environment: they don’t take tests well, they get confused, distracted, stressed, depressed or even scared.
And some children really need more help with homework and studying than others. So, the way to higher grades and more knowledge will differ depending on what your child’s real problems are. However, the tips below will definitely help to resolve them.
2. Cooperate with teachers
More often than not, teachers are more aware of kids’ academic weaknesses than parents, as they observe them every day in a classroom. Thus, if parents really want to help their kids improve grades, they need to talk to the teachers to hear what difficulties they experience in a classroom, why their homework isn’t graded as well and how that can be changed. If your child is falling behind on certain subjects, hiring a private tutor to catch up may be a great idea.
3. Establish a studying routine
Kids and adults perform better when they stick to a certain routine every single day/weekday. Even such things as waking up at the same time each morning, having healthy meals and developing a schedule that fits both work and play times and getting enough sleep will help your child become more productive and spend quality studying time.
To help your child concentrate on studying and nothing else during the designated hours, create a quite studying area and eliminate distractions: no TV or music in the background, no gadgets (both for him and you), no computer and no other children playing around, etc. Place a homework desk in your child’s room and transfer his TV and/or computer to a living room or any other commonly used area of your house. This way, your child won’t be tempted to replace homework with video games or YouTube binge watching. And, you will be able to control what your child is actually doing when researching something for school on the Internet, preparing a presentation or reading an important paper.
4. Introduce a reasonable reward system
The argument on whether parents should reward their kids for academic achievements will never ned. But, when being a kid, it’s rather difficult to get motivated by the thought that studying for more than 10 years straight will help you in the future. Much more realistic rewards that improve the quality of your child’s life and motivate him to reach short-term goals work a lot better than shaming him for his terrible grades and warning that he won’t be able to achieve anything in life.
Thus, in attempts to improve your child’s grades, make sure that he has something else to work for other than the grades themselves. Have an honest conversation with your child, figure out what he wants, set the academics goals (both long and short-term ones) together and provide the reward when the goal is reached.
The rewards don’t have to be expensive. They should be powerful enough to motivate your child, though. For instance, a week of qualitatively completed homework that was done without any reminders may be worthy of a permission to invite your child’s friends over or watch a movie.
5. Remain patient, calm and respectful
Your child isn’t going to come back home with straight A’s the day after you pronounce a powerful parent speech about the importance of education. He probably won’t be able to do that even after a few weeks of hard school work. That’s why your job as a parent is to ensure a consistent studying routine and encourage your child to keep up the good work even when the positive results aren’t that noticeable.
You need to do your best to stay confident in your child’s abilities, treat him in a respectful way despite the difficulties and fails and remain calm not to make your struggling child feel even more stressed, stupid and unable to improve his grades. Noticing your child’s effort and praising him for making steps to success and ensuring free time is crucial when it comes to strengthening his will to studying and improving grades.