How to help a Child struggling academically

When you notice a child struggling academically, it is best to get them the help they need as soon as possible. The longer it takes for students to get help, the more lost they are as the school’s learning continues to move on. How do you know if your child is struggling?

Children and adolescents are not always happy with their school performance, especially if they feel bad about it.

Keep in mind that while anyone may have a day off, if these all become a pattern or start to become completely normal, the sooner you figure out the reasons behind the changes, so you can help them, the better.


Sudden refusal to discuss school

When your child suddenly doesn’t want to tell you what they learn at school, or how their school day is going, it can be a signal that something is wrong at school. This may also be limited to the subject they are struggling with.

Major changes in school attitudes  

If your child suddenly becomes distant or angry at school, you can bet they don’t like things at school. Another important attitude shift is boredom. Often, children complain that they are bored when they do not understand what is going on in school. When your child says they’re bored, it’s important to look more deeply for the cause. This may be because they already know the material taught in a particular unit of the school. Children who do not know the material at all will also complain about boredom.

Sleep or eating difficulties

Sleep or eating is often caused by worry. Your child may have problems sleeping or eating if they know that they are not working with the school in class. Young children who want to please caring adults in their lives may worry that these adults will feel uneasy about them if they do not do well in school.

child struggling academically

Spending too much time on homework

This is a big warning sign if your child is falling into a pattern where there is almost no free time outside school because they spend time on homework. A rough guideline is that every school night, a child should spend ten minutes on homework in each grade. Homework policies vary widely between teachers and schools, so it is important to recognize that some teachers give more homework and some give less.

Your child’s teacher expresses concern

It is sometimes easy to dismiss what the teacher tells you about your child struggling academically, especially if what the teacher tells you is different from what you always knew about your child. Your child’s teacher is the one who teaches a classroom full of students the same materials. If your child’s teacher thinks your child is struggling more than other students, pay attention to what the teacher is saying. Your child’s teacher lets you know that changes in your child’s academic progress are the way the teacher gives you the opportunity to help solve any problems they may see starting to develop.

Misbehaviour at school sometimes

Misbehaviour at school is really the way your child struggling academically tries to move attention away from the fact that they are working hard. Children and adolescents also often lack many of the necessary skills to say it, specifically what they are having trouble in school. If your child usually behaves well and suddenly starts having behavioral problems at school, look not only at what is happening in their social world, but also at their academic work.

Your child’s low grades

This is an obvious sign, but sometimes the child and school parents do not want to believe that this is a sign that the child is struggling with the school material. Some parents feel that bad grades only mean that the child just does not understand the importance of education in their lives and will somehow snap out and succeed once the child is a little older


Some children find themselves lagging behind their peers, despite a lot of effort, because they are frustrated with learning disabilities. Some people fall behind because they have a hard time focusing on their studies, or trying to do their homework in an organized manner.

Some children who are struggling will get the support they need to succeed from experts at school, in the classroom, or outside the classroom. But every year, many, many parents find themselves asking for help after school.


Subject support

If your child fails in a particular subject, a mentor may be the way to go. It’s easy to understand what a tutor is: she is knowledgeable in a particular subject area and she can help students get the necessary homework support by filling in background information that your child may have missed and providing more explanations and exercises

Homework support

If your child’s challenge is not a particular topic, but the trouble to settle down and solve the work itself, homework helpers may be tickets. Homework assistants do just that: help with homework by providing structure and support. Many, if not most, parents fill this role for their children, present and provide support when the child is confused or not focused. But when the child has unusual difficulties with work, and homework becomes the main area of conflict, having a professional homework helper in the case can be a great relief for both parents and children.

Learning support

For a child with serious learning problems, educational therapists are not so much about completing homework as about strengthening the skills he needs to be able to keep up. Educational therapists have a range of professional backgrounds, from special education to speech and language therapy to Psychology. What they have in common is that they understand the learning style of an individual child and then help him develop skills and strategies that enable him to build strengths and compensate for weaknesses. Educational therapists recognize that children who have been lagging behind in school are often discouraged and anxious, so there is a mission to build a child’s confidence along with her skills.

Improving their grades

The occasional bad grades in a task may not cause serious concern, but a pattern of low grades—or worse-a transcript full of bad grades is a sign of  a worrisome poor grades that are a sign of some kind of problem. Be sure to know all the information on the transcript and make a plan to help your child. Encouraging and advocating that you provide your child when they start struggling in school can make a huge difference in enabling your child to get back on track. While it’s understandable to worry about your child’s future when they begin to struggle, remember that learning how to overcome difficulties is a valuable lifelong course that can succeed in school and in life.



By Lisa Linnell-Olsen  Fact checked by Adah Chung Updated on May 20, 2020

Caroline Miller

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