How to Help Your Child Who Has Fallen Behind in School

How to Help Your Child Who Has Fallen Behind in School

Every single year I have a kid or two that falls behind in something at school. Some years I have no idea it is happening until crawling out of that mess seems like it is going to consume every waking hour. Other years I catch it early before it becomes a problem. This was the year I caught it early and today I am sharing how to help your child who has fallen behind in school. 

Ways to Know if Your Kids are Falling Behind in School

Nobody wants their kids to fall behind in school. Not only is it bad for the self-esteem but it usually results in them fooling around while other children try to learn as they are bored.

Communication. Build the relationship with the teachers early, as in last week. Send a note asking them to let you know if there is any issues, behavioural or educational. One year we didn’t hear until parent-teacher interviews half-way through the year that our child was not only disruptive in class but failing math horribly. Nobody wants to be in that seat so make sure your children’s teacher knows you want to be kept aware of issues as they happen.

Do Homework With Them. I made the mistake of trusting my kids when they said they did the work and not checking. You will not know what they are struggling with unless you sit down and watch them do their work. You may actually realize they need more challenging work as well by watching them do their work. It was only because I sat down with my child to do math homework that first week of school that I realized they were not grasping what was being taught. 

How to Help Your Child Who Has Fallen Behind in School

How to Help Your Child Who Has Fallen Behind in School

Sit Down With Them Daily. At our worst time, I would spend 3 hours with my child doing math every night. We would work our way through a problem only to have him forget how to solve it the next equation. We would both be crying, frustrated and confused. BUT it worked. Eventually, homework only took two hours, then one hour, and after a few months he could finish his homework without me having to guide him every step of the way. 

Get Them a Tutor. If you don’t have the time/patience/knowledge to help your child you need to get them a tutor. Look for flyers around your house or local grocery store for tutors. If you don’t think you can afford a tutor contact your local high school to see if you can get a teen to tutor in exchange for volunteer hours. Check your local religious place of worship to see if there is someone there who could help out. Don’t give up until you find someone to help. 

Support Them Emotionally. Falling behind is hard. I don’t want my children to think they are less than because they don’t understand how to round to the nearest hundred.

Communicate With Them. Communicate with them and see if there is something deeper as to why they are not understanding what is being taught. Maybe they have a learning disability and need to be taught in a different way then what is currently being done. Maybe they can’t see the board and need glasses. Maybe they are being bullied. Sometimes there is an underlying problem and a talk can bring it out into the light.

How to Help Your Child Who Has Fallen Behind in School

Take Away Distractions. For us, it was the game consoles for one kid and slime videos on Youtube for the other. As much as I love technology and allow my kids to use it I am well aware of what is getting in the way of homework and sometimes you have to take it away. Kids will push back on this. I was dubbed the worst mom ever for taking items away but I don’t care if it means they will catch up with their peers.

Use an Online Program. Once I took away the distractions I needed to give the kids a way to earn back time with them. I purchased an account with IXL for both math and English for my two oldest. It cost me under $25 monthly although it is less money if you only do one child and/or one subject. I asked them each to do one hour of the program daily and in return, they will get that time on the items I took away during the weekend. IXL is actually fun and they learn and are tested. It follows Canadian curriculum (although it has options for MANY countries) and I even caught both kids doing extra work this weekend to get more time on their distraction devices. It keeps a tally of how long your child was on the program, how many questions they answered, what they still don’t understand and also emails you updates. This program covers from JK to Grade 12 and I highly recommend it.

How to Help Your Child Who Has Fallen Behind in School

As a conclusion to this post, I think it is important to note the importance of teaching our children that even if they fall they can/should/will get up and thrive. I don’t know one person who has found EVERYTHING they have done to be easy and it is a skill we need to work on. The least we can do as parents is to be by their side, helping and supporting them as they work their way out.

Aneta Alaei
Aneta Alaei

Aneta is a Toronto-based mom of four that loves a good meal, great company, and learning something new. In her free time, you can find her trying to keep yet another plant alive.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

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  1. kristen visser
    September 24, 2018 / 3:40 pm

    what a great and important post. all these tip you have added into your post are such helpful ways to help your child. and it is important to communicate with your childs teacher. we do so with both of our girls teachers that way i know everything that is going on in the classroom

  2. AD
    September 24, 2018 / 9:05 pm

    Really good tips; communication is definitely key. But also inspiring your child in the area they are lagging by doing extras with them, go on a trip to a museum, find some books to read, etc.

  3. Debbie Davidov
    September 24, 2018 / 10:03 pm

    Great tips. We are lucky; we get free accounts of IXL and Raz kids for the school year. Helps a lot!

  4. September 24, 2018 / 10:46 pm

    Lucky you! I am going to checkout Raz now 🙂

  5. Debbie White-Beattie
    September 29, 2018 / 2:50 am

    Great tips ! A tudor can really help to make sense of something they don’t get

  6. Calvin
    October 2, 2018 / 12:38 pm

    Really helpful especially since school started only a month now

  7. Tammi L.
    October 4, 2018 / 8:02 am

    For us a tutor is the best option, I’m totally lost with a lot of the stuff they are learning. Especially when it comes to math!

  8. Nate
    October 4, 2018 / 7:51 pm

    I find that tutors are very valuable when a child falls behind in school

  9. Janet M
    January 20, 2019 / 10:17 am

    Your tips are very helpful. Thanks for the thought you put into this.