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  • Writer's pictureCarolyn Boutin

Signs your child is struggling academically

As a tutor, I am often looking for discrete signals that a child is struggling (more than they are telling you). Sometimes children carry a lot of shame about their progress and instead of reaching out for help they put time and effort into hiding what is going on inside.

One of the things that I will notice first is that I haven’t seen any marks in a while. Most teachers either mark daily or in huge chunks. So, if I haven’t seen any marks in a while and my student tells me, “Oh Mr. So-and-So never hands anything back,” I know to reach out to the teacher and confirm in a non-judgmental way. Almost every time, the teacher had been consistently handing back work that ended up in the garbage or stuffed into a binder.

Another checklist is that the student is having trouble starting assignments.

This is a sign that they’ve lost confidence and feel overwhelmed. A great way to help with this is to have them write or type the name and date on the top of the pages. Just this small step can help them begin.

If your child has stopped talking about their day and seems frustrated and angry when pushed for details, this is a huge red flag. Make sure that you ask the “right” questions that will open your child up to answer more. “What was the hardest part of your day?”; “What was the best part of recess?”; “Who did you help today?” These questions aren’t about their academic progress or what they’ve accomplished so they help with them talking to you without feeling pressure.

Below is a link to mental health resources if you think your child is showing signs of depression or clinical anxiety.

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