Parents often wonder how to tell if their child may need extra help. Though every child is different, and every age is different, here are a few tips that may indicate a need for help:
· Sudden discomfort – your once happy and content student is suddenly anxious talking about school. It isn’t just the shift in discussion where you feel like you’re pulling teeth trying to figure out what happened in school that day now that you have a middle schooler; your child actually becomes uncomfortable discussing school.
o For some children this could manifest as actual physical discomfort, such as fidgeting or avoiding eye contact.
o For others, it could be avoidance, such as an immediate and deliberate change of subject.
o For a few, this could manifest as irritation or aggression. Some students are having such a hard time that they get upset even discussing things that are school-related.
· Grade decline – it is perfectly normal to have off-days and topics that just don’t click. A bad test grade or two is not always the best indicator that help is needed (could be sleep related, something outside of school, etc.) But, a steady decline in a class grade or grades should be a sign that something is wrong. If your child has dropped a letter grade or more and doesn’t seem to be on the upswing, it may be time to look into some outside assistance
· Key words – really listen to your child and their attitude when discussing school. What may once have been “fine” may now be “really hard.” Some students drop hints about not knowing what they’re doing, or not wanting to raise their hand because they feel their question is “stupid.” These small additions to your conversations are signals your child is sending to communicate their struggle
· Trust your gut – you are their parent. You know them best. If you think something is wrong and they need help, then you are probably right. Have an open conversation with them and see where they are and how they feel
Note: remember that you are the parent. Even us teachers get frustrated because we understand the content our own children are learning, but for some reason just cannot help or tutor them. This is normal. A tutor is a professional who can come in and play a very particular role in your child’s life. They develop a different relationship of respect and communication with your child.