Report cards can trigger a wide range of emptions for kids and their parents – happiness, joy, relief, disappointment, anger, frustration, tension, fear, anxiety, etc.
When a child brings home a bad report card, it’s overwhelming for everyone.
If it is handled in a negative, non-constructive way, it only makes things worse for everyone, especially your child who is already feeling pretty low from the bad grades, and also from disappointing you.
One of the most important things to remember is that a bad report card is not the end of the world, nor are bad grades a sign that your child is a failure in school, or in life.
Report cards are an opportunity to check in how school is going, and how your child’s learning is progressing throughout the school year. Report cards are a means to learn and grow both at school and in life overall. For parents and kids, changing to this type of ‘report card mindset’ is a really important step in dealing with report cards in general.
A bad report card is an opportunity for you to help your child figure out:
1. Stay Calm – You may feel like yelling, screaming, or punishing your child, but it will not help solve the issue. Your child will likely feel like a failure, get defensive and shut down, which makes having an effective, real conversation about the report card impossible). Also, don't react with 100% disappointment. A poor grade is not a true measure of your child’s capabilities or knowledge. Poor grades are actually often a red flag suggesting that there may be a something more going on, and it may not even be related to school.
2. Find what’s Positive & Praise it – We encourage you to find the positive in your child’s report card, praise them for it and show them that you are taking into account all information – good and not-so-good. Starting off the conversation by boosting your child’s self-esteem and confidence will get you off on the right foot. Your child wants to you to be proud of them, so make sure you tell them that you are and why.
3. Don’t Lecture – Have a Discussion – Ask your child questions and listen carefully to their answers. If you lecture them, they will tune you out. Remember that the goal is to find out what is going on with your child, and to help motivate your child to work harder and improve. Lecturing can lead to your child feeling humiliated or even ashamed.
4. Review the Teacher’s Comments – This is very important as it gives context to why your child has received the grade(s) he or she did, and what they need to work on. Are they focused at school? Are they bored? Perhaps disruptive? Is there any pattern among the subjects that may suggest a common issue or something larger (like a concentration issue or learning challenge)?
5. Meet with Your Child’s Teacher(s) – Your child spends a lot of time with their teacher(s), so setting up a meeting to go over the report card can really help you learn more about your child’s behaviour, habits and performance at school. This meeting can also help you learn more about the teacher(s) , specifically their teaching style, classroom rules, and overall learning philosophy. Communicating with your child’s teacher(s) can help you better understand why your child is getting the grades they are, reveal potential issues (learning, behavourial, or other like poor hearing or eyesight), and can even help you develop a game plan for future success (see #6).
6. Develop a Game Plan for Future Success – A good game plan needs realistic goals and grade level expectations to work towards. Why? Because not all kids are straight A students – it’s not realistic to expect 100% perfection in every subject. It’s not because they are not smart either. They have other gifts and skills where they excel. Being proficient in core subjects (like math, reading, writing, etc.) is a important goal and much more realistic for some kids. Also, expecting your child to move from a D to an A between now and the next progress report or report card is not necessarily realistic. Progressing from a D to a B may more realistic.
7. Support Your Child all the Way to the Finish Line - Your kid’s need your support between now and their next report card (and after that too), and especially as they act on their game plan. The level of support your child needs is unique to them, and where they are struggling. For some parents, support could be helping their child set up a distraction-free work area at home or implementing regular homework/study time each day. Other parents may need to sit with their kids during homework time and help them stay focused. For others, support could be talking regularly with their child’s teachers, and working with them to help your child progress and improve. Sometimes outside support is needed for certain subjects, like math. Parents can count on Mathnasium of Newmarket for expert math tutoring support, that is personalized to their child’s needs.
It’s important that we remember that bad grades just don’t happen overnight, and neither do good grades. Developing a game plan that improves and rewards good studying and academic habits are needed for a child to make progress, improve or excel in school.
We hope you have found these tips for how to deal with a bad report card helpful and that your child benefits from them.
If your child needs a math tutor to help them catch up, keep up or get ahead in math, contact us today through our online form or call us at (905) 895-6284. We make learning math fun and are confident we can help change your child's life through math.