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How to Help Your Child Through Report Card Jitters

student with a backpack on standing in front of a whiteboard in a classroom.

(Image courtesy of Pexels)

Identify the Issue

Children express their anxieties differently from adults, and symptoms vary greatly, making it even harder to distinguish from other concerns. Perhaps your child experiences a tummy ache or headache every morning before the bus arrives, or she refuses to use the bathroom anywhere but at home.

Sometimes the worry becomes so strong your child won’t go to school. This can be subtle, like morning illnesses, or stronger, with temper tantrums or crying fits. For kids refusing to attend school, Psychology Today recommends first ruling out any physical issues, and then having a gentle conversation about what’s going on. Avoid lecturing, and start looking for patterns in your child’s behavior. Are there specific days there is trouble? If it’s unappealing to stay home, like if video games are put away, does that alter the routine? Sort things out as much as you can, and connect with the school for help.

Check-in with a Pro

Any time a child is struggling, there is an important resource families shouldn’t overlook. Schools have professional counselors on staff who are specially trained to help kids through their emotional, social, and personal concerns, as well as with any issues relating to classes and their careers.

You might worry about your child feeling put on the spot, but school counselors typically have a master’s degree, and in the course of earning their education, they must demonstrate patience, and leadership skills, be sensitive and understanding regarding cultural and gender issues, and be able to act ethically and fairly. In short, it’s a safe place for your child to turn and can open doors to healthier emotions and coping skills.

Another suggestion is to cue in teachers. Your child might have mentioned specific instances relating to the classroom, or you can ask her what situations are triggering anxiety. Are smaller groups easier for her? Does she hate being called on without warning? Would a designated Q and A session help her feel comfortable asking questions? Sometimes small adjustments in the classroom can ease your child’s mind and build self-confidence.

Helping at Home

In addition to school resources, there are many ways parents can help an anxious child. Start by thinking about some adjustments at home as part of facilitating a healthy and stress-free living environment. For many students and parents, it’s discouraging when their kids don’t make the honor roll. But for the parents, it’s important to look at their kids’ overall progress and just a letter grade. Even for the smallest gains, parents should celebrate them, not only when A’s and B’s are achieved. And if you’re a mom, showing your kids how to make incremental progress toward bigger goals is a powerful life lesson. Don’t underestimate how much influence moms have in this regard.

One simple thing you can do for your youngsters at home is to encourage them to get enough sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, insufficient sleep is linked to reduced performance in school. Kids without healthy amounts of sleep are more apt to experience issues like moodiness, lack of focus, hyperactivity, and inhibited learning.

To improve your child’s sleep quality, set a reasonable sleep and wake time for every day, including weekends. Ensure your youngster stops using electronics well before bedtime and set up a bedtime routine to help your child unwind in the evenings. Make the transition slowly, aiming for 10 hours of sleep per night.

Smooth Out Mornings

Some kids seem to wrestle with mornings in particular. If your youngster struggles to awaken, you might need to bump bedtime up earlier. It can also help to turn on a light or open the blinds about ten minutes before she should rise.

Just getting dressed can be troublesome in some families. If your child wants to wear inappropriate clothing to school, like a superhero costume or bunny ears, Today suggests coming up with a drama-free dressing routine. For instance, put her favorite ensembles together, take pictures of them, and then let her make a selection ahead of time. It allows your child a say in what she wears and eliminates headbutting.

Report card jitters are not unusual, but they are challenging for everyone involved. Identify the problem, connect with the school, and make some adjustments at home. By working together, you, your child, and the school can get through it and enjoy a successful academic year.

Is your child having a difficult time retaining information taught in a traditional classroom? Or is it a challenge to schedule routine tutoring sessions outside of your home? Holmes Tutoring can help. Reach out today for more info! 334-377-0221

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