No matter why your child has been out of school — whether because of an injury, illness, or school shutdown — or maybe she or he is just behind in a certain subject, parents are asking, “What can I do about my child being behind?”
- First and foremost, remember that almost all of the children are behind. You are not a failure and your child isn’t the only student in this situation. We are all in a unique situation having come out of a pandemic, so don’t compare your child to what an older child was doing at this age. The other child didn’t go through what your child did.
- Reassure your child. Your child is doing okay. All you can ask of them is that they do their best. Sometimes low self-esteem can lead to struggling and then that struggling will lead to lower self-esteem. Break the cycle by complementing your child and supporting them.
- Be observant. Ask questions and look for patterns. Are there particular subjects that your child is struggling with? Does your child fight harder about certain subject’s homework than others? Take notes on what they are struggling most with and do what you can to help them.
- Keep communication open with your child’s teacher. Let the teacher know what you observe. Find out what the teacher is seeing. Ask the teacher for advice to help your child, they are the educational expert.
- If you are concerned that your child is really struggling, that it’s more than just the usual being behind because of a pandemic, say something. Advocate for your child to get tested for learning disabilities. There is no harm in asking for help and you are your child’s best advocate.
- Consider hiring a tutor. If it seems to be too expensive, see if you can share the expense with another family in your child’s class or barter for it (a college student may be willing to tutor for a free dinner). Intensive tutoring almost daily has been shown to be better than weekly help, but every little bit helps.
- Check out YouTube videos. You can find videos on just about anything online. Just look for your topic and you’ll likely find an expert or two teaching it.
- Utilize your local library. At your local library you can find books, audio books, and games that can give your child extra practice for anything they are struggling with.
- Study in a group. The peer pressure to stay on task and the opportunity to teach each other as well as learn can help children who are behind to catch up.
- Keep things in order outside the classroom. It’s hard to catch up if you’re tired. Make sure your child gets enough food, sleep, and leisure so they can concentrate on their school work when they need to.
2020 is a year that will remain in infamy in our history books. Students may need help to catch up — and many will — but remember, all children are in the same boat and your child is doing their best. With some encouragement and attention, your child can be successful in school.
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