Many times children will perform well in school and then slowly parents will notice a drop off in their grades. That is what happened with Kelly Freiman. Her son, Mikey, 11 enjoyed going to school. He didn’t love reading but was doing well in all his other subjects. As his 6th grade year progressed his grades moved from A’s and B’s to some C’s and one D. Kelly was concerned. She tried taking away his privileges if he didn’t do his homework and setting up incentive programs. Nothing seemed to work. She felt if he just put in more effort he would be able to do well.
It is difficult to motivate children to learn. It is one of the toughest challenges, parents and educators have. Parents have a vested interest in their child’s school performance. If their child fails they think they have failed as parents. They also feel it is a direct reflection on their parenting abilities. They blame themselves and confront their child in anger. A child then feels the pressure of having disappointed their parents. Besides their difficulties in school they are also dealing with the emotions of dragging their parents down. This causes children to feel even more discouraged and further compromises their academic career.
Many times parents will say to their child, “If you just try harder, you can do better.” It is difficult for children to listen to this type of vague directive. Many times children have problems with school and they don’t know how to even begin to improve their grades. They become embarrassed by their limitations. They will resort to clowning around or acting tough to cover their insecurities. This behavior can anger parents and teachers and distract them from focusing on the underlying academic issues.
There are many ways we can help our children when they are struggling in school. Here are 7 simple steps to help you manage :
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1. Stay calm
Recognize that you are not solely responsible for your child’s academic success. When your child comes home with a bad grade, get objective. Tell yourself, “My son came home with a “D.” That is too bad. What is he missing that he needs help with? What can I help him do so that he can succeed and take responsiblity for his work?”
2. “You are so smart!”
Don’t praise your child for his intelligence, saying things like, “You are the brightest kid I know!” Instead make sure to praise him for working hard and for persevering at a difficult task. Children who are praised for putting in effort are more likely to keep trying when they encounter setbacks. They know they have control over their ability to learn. Children who are told they are smart have a harder time with school. They give up when they have to complete assignments that leave them feeling “not-so-smart”
3. Don’t get mad
Instead of reacting to your child’s poor grade with anger respond with kindness and understanding. If you respond in frustration to your child’s less than perfect schoolwork, you actually decrease your child’s motivation to learn. It is important to periodically say, “I hope you know I love you no matter what your grades are.” Try to place the responsibility for his schoolwork back on your child where it belongs. Try saying, “I am sure you are disappointed with your grade. Let me know if I can help you or support you in anyway.”
4. Avoid power struggles
When we engage in power struggles with our children all learning stops. Children cannot learn when they are upset. We need to avoid the downward spiral into conflict. We can say, “I will always love you. I want you to make good choices in life even about school. I have faith that you can turn yourself around. I will always be here if you need some suggestions.”
5. Keep your relationships positive
The best thing you can do for your children is to maintain a loving relationship with them. Children who feel loved unconditionally will more likely do well in school. Don’t let your child feel that your approval is based on his grades. It is a recipe for disaster. Instead of wasting your energy on managing your child’s schoolwork develop ways to spend quality time with your child. It is a better use of time.
6. Talk to teachers
Set up a meeting to talk to your son’s teachers. Make sure to set a positive tone to the meeting. Start the conversation in a non-confrontational way: “I have been noticing a decline in Sara’s grades, have you noticed anything? Is there anything I can do at home to help him? What is your opinion of her academic performance?”
7. Get tested
Children sometimes will lag behind their peers because of subtle learning differences. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. There are standardized tests that can help pinpoint deficits in learning.
In Mikey’s case, Kelly spoke to his teachers. They acknowledged that 6th grade can be more challenging for kids, even children who have always done well. Kelly spoke to Mikey calmly and he confided that he was having a hard time understanding the written work. He was too embarrassed to ask for assistance. His teachers were made aware of this and set up a system where Mikey could get some extra help. Kelly reported that his grades this semester have improved overall.
This is part of a full series on Help for Kids Struggling In School.
Want to go deeper and invest in developing your parenting skills? Adina’s Parenting Simply Foundations Workshop is a great place to start!
When I was a child, summer always seemed to too short. But, as a mom, summer seems especially short. It feels like just yesterday we were getting out of school for summer. Now, it’s time to start thinking about and planning for back to school. As I start making plans, I realize the first step to successful back to school preparation is prayer. I hope these 10 back to school prayers will encourage you and your children this school year.
As Parents we send our children to school, we no longer have control of their time, how they will behave or the actions they will take. We trust the life lessons we have taught them will become applied when we are not around. We don’t have to blindly hope things will work out, we can pray for our children.
Recommended for you: Back to School Resources – everything you need for back to school. Planning your routines, making school lunches, preparing for success, starting your day right and much more…
10 Back to School Prayers for our Children
Whether your children attend a public school, private school, Christian school or home school, they will face temptations daily. These prayers are to strengthen their character.
Colossians 2:5, “For though I am absent in the body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.”
Being steadfast means to be firm, fixed or constant. This prayer for your child to be steadfast means they will be constant and fixed in their faith in Christ. The world seeks to distract them and pull them away from their faith. Let us pray they will be strong and hold to the faith they have been taught.
I Samuel 3:10, “Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel’ And Samuel answered, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.’”
Samuel was just a young boy when God called to him, but he answered with a tender and obedient heart. Pray for your child to have an obedient heart and spirit.
Obedience can be a struggle for some children. They struggle to follow the rules, they struggle to obey parents and teachers. Pray they will have open hearts to God’s voice and always obey the first time.
Acts 28:31, “Proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.”
Pray for your child to be bold and speak with courage about their faith and beliefs in Jesus. For children who attend public schools, their faith will be challenged daily by friends and by teachers. Pray for boldness to share their beliefs and hold strongly to their beliefs even when they are opposed.
Proverbs 11:3, “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.”
Integrity means honesty. Integrity will guide the conscience. Pray for your child to guide their conscience and their integrity. A strong conscience and sense of integrity will help your child to always know right from wrong. Pray the Holy Spirit will strengthen their conscience and give them a heart for God.
Matthew 5:37, “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil”
Pray that our children will always speak the truth. It’s so easy to tell “little lies” or try to avoid the truth especially when we have made a mistake. Give them the courage to always be honest and accept the consequences. Lying should never be accepted or tolerated.
Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Children will squabble and fight, and the first thing they forget is how to be kind. Pray they will always be kind to each other and speak only kind words.
2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
One of my favorite Bible verses, as it reminds us we have to endure to the end and finish the course we have been given. In school, we focus on finishing each year successfully. Pray that your children will have endurance and perseverance to do their best from the first day of school to the last day of this school year.
Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
Being a friend means being a friend at all times, how often we hear our children say to each other, “I’m not your friend,” or “I’m not speaking to you anymore.” We want our children to be a friend at all times. Pray that our children learn to how to be a good friend and treat their friends with love like family.
Galatians 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
We want our children to have compassion and care for others. We want them to be sensitive to the needs of others. Pray they will see the problems and burdens of others and they will offer a hand to help when they are able.
10. Submission/Right Attitude
Philippians 2:14-15, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, Children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”
The importance of the right attitude cannot be missed or forgotten. Our attitude and how we approach situations will affect us throughout our lives. Pray that our children will have the right attitude at school and the right attitude toward authority and be submissive to their parents, teachers, and leaders who are guiding them. The right attitude shines the light of Jesus to others.
How to Use These Prayers
There are several ways you can use these prayers. You can pray a few of them each day or you can pray one each day for 10 days and then start over. You can also add your own verses and character qualities.
Praying daily for our children will strengthen their faith and help them grow. We cannot be with our children every minute of every day, but we can send them equipped to face all the challenges they may encounter.
What prayer do you have for your children as they are starting school this year? Share in the comments.
In the past few weeks, I’ve watched a lot of my friends hit their breaking points – whether it be from illness, the stress of homework, roommate drama, our impending finals, or even the prospect of what we want to do with our lives. It’s been hard. It’s always tough to see the people you love hurt, and it hurts even more to know that sometimes there really is nothing you can do to help. With all of this pain and struggling surrounding us, it has been difficult for me to remain positive – for myself and for those around me.
The other night, I spoke with a friend about how it felt like everyone around me was falling apart. He held my hand and told me to stop analyzing everything and trying to fix everyone else’s problems, and just to pray. Pray? As a busy college student, especially one who has not had the strongest faith relationship in the past few years, I hadn’t considered the idea of stepping back and putting all of this chaos into someone else’s hands. But he insisted, and that’s just what we did.
At first, it was weird and uncomfortable. Verbalizing such intimate wishes and concerns was strange to me; I felt vulnerable. I didn’t have my blanket of sarcasm anymore, and with him gripping my hand, I couldn’t walk away. So we offered up our gratitude, our concerns, and our wishes. He spoke his out loud, whereas I was warming up to the idea, so I prayed internally. When he first spoke, I felt rigid; but as he poured out his love, I felt a weight lift off my shoulders. This vulnerability led me to a peace of mind. I left that night with a lightness that I hadn’t felt in a long time.
So for all those college students feeling anxious, lonely, stressed, or even those of you who are perfectly content, close your eyes and say a prayer. Don’t analyze or try to comprehend life to fit it into little boxes. Relax, and know that someone else will take care of that for you. Whatever you may say, offer it up and know there is someone listening. Here is my prayer for you:
Thank you, Lord, for the people you have put into my life. I am grateful for each of them, for all of the unique gifts and quirks each has to offer. You have a plan for every one of them, and I pray that they come to realize someone does have it all figured it out.
Please grant them peace of mind and the ability to forget their worries and focus on the future. Will you protect them from the things I cannot and allow them to soar without fear of failure?
For those who have struggled or been hurt, please heal their scars and offer them guidance in their journey. But I ask that you do not let them forget their pain; remind them that pain is what pushes us towards the future and motivates us. Darkness is pain, but show them that your light is ahead.
And I am sorry for the times when I have doubted you and for when I have not been proud of you in my life. I know that you have infinite love for us, even when we wander. Let me realize and celebrate this unconditional gift.
Lord, finally, give me the strength to offer love to each of my friends and to hold their hands in this journey. They are the best people in the world, and all I want is for them to succeed and find happiness within themselves.