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10 Jan

Is your child not performing well in school? Are constant complaints from teachers about your child's poor performance becoming the new normal? Are you tired of trying numerous methods to improve your child's academic performance with no success? Is it making you feel like a failure as a parent?

If this sounds familiar to you, it can be frustrating! Let us help you understand what could be some causes your child's academic difficulties and how you can overcome them.

"As long as there is algebra, there will be prayer in school."

-Larry Miller

The fear of your child being less intelligent or you being a failure as a parent can be frightening and disturbing. However, it is a narrative created in your mind because of the meaning you have attached to your child’s academic performance. Academic scores are indeed important; however, they are limited to opening the next level of educational doors. Academic scores are only one measure of a child's intellect and overall potential. There can be numerous reasons your child is having difficulty at school. Scores/grades ought not be the sole determinant of a child's future or be seen as a label or measuring stick. The scores are not a reflection of your child's potential, capacity, intelligence, or ability. Similarly, it is not a reflection of you as a parent either.

What could be the possible reason for poor academic performance?

Although seeing your child struggle academically can be frustrating, your child does not need you to be frustrated. Your child's academic performance is not a reflection of you as a parent but rather a combination of multiple factors like learning style, interests, physical and mental health, the environment they are in, or even the curriculum and method of teaching. Your child needs your support, not just through their tuition, homework, or study time, but also in identifying the possible reasons for their poor academic performance.

Here are some questions that you can ask yourself to reflect on whether these factors could be possible reasons for poor academic performance. For instance:

• Is there too much activity for your child to do in a day? For example, do they need to attend dance classes, karate classes, extra tuition or other co-curricular activities?
• Is your child not getting enough sleep? For example, sleeping for less than 7 hours.
• Is your child eating enough or not eating the right kind of food? Consuming junk food or other foods with few nutritional benefits, for example.
• Does your child have enough time to relax and unwind?

These could be some reasons behind the poor academic performance repeatedly discovered in parent coaching sessions. Identifying these factors often helps to navigate and identify the problem, which helps to further find a solution to it.

Potential causes of poor academic performance

Poor academic performance can be caused by various factors, including lack of motivation or interest, inadequate learning skills and strategies, and/or poor time management. These might be some hurdles that impact your child's academic performance.

• The teacher is unable to provide individual attention for your child in the classroom. It could be that the class size is too large, making it difficult for the teacher to give personalised attention to each student. Your child might also be struggling to keep up with the pace of instruction. In addition, your child may have difficulty concentrating or suffer from an undiagnosed learning disability.
• The teaching style does not correspond to your child's learning style. For example, if your child is a visual learner who learns better from seeing pictures, videos, or texts, but the teaching mode is only auditory in terms of lectures, audio, etc., your child might find it difficult to grasp the concepts. It is essential to understand your child's learning style to provide them with the best possible educational environment.
• If the child is asked to sit in the back of the classroom, he or she may experience difficulties with vision or hearing. This can make it difficult to focus and comprehend the material being taught.
• A child is being labelled or bullied by teachers or classmates, which might scare your child. For example, "you are slow"; "you are stupid." Such labels can cause deep-rooted issues with a child's self-esteem, making it difficult for them to concentrate on the task.

These factors increase the chances of the child developing a negative attitude toward learning. This can be especially detrimental to a child's educational experience, as it can cause them to become fearful or anxious in the classroom and lead to a reluctance to engage in activities or avoid participating in conversations. Parents must, therefore, take a holistic view of the situation and understand that academic success is not only about getting the highest grades but also about providing your child with the necessary tools to develop their self-esteem and build a strong support system for them. Therefore, parents need to provide the necessary guidance and understanding for their children, as well as the appropriate tools to help them cope with and overcome their academic difficulties.

What can parents do to help their children improve academically?

Parents can help their children improve academically in several ways.

Offer Structure: Offer more structure at home for your child's learning, which could be in the form of dedicated time and space. The brain automatically associates that time and space with learning, which can play out as increased concentration and receiving of the learning. Parents can also help their kids do well in school by teaching them good study habits, like setting aside regular study time and breaking down their work into smaller, easier-to-handle pieces. Parents can start by helping their children figure out what they do well and what they struggle with in school. They can also encourage their child to ask for help when they need it and to look for resources that can give them more help.
Ask for help:Asking for help from someone good at a particular subject can help explain it to the child. There might be someone whose learning style is similar to your child's. This would assist the child in learning in their preferred mode. For example, if your child is a visual learner, they could take help from a family member who is also a visual learner.
Change in schedule: A change in sleep and food schedule helps the child perform better academically. Even a half-hour difference in bedtime can make waking up much easier.
Support: Parents need to be willing to listen when their child is upset or confused about his or her schoolwork. Emotional support and understanding can go a long way toward helping the child deal with his or her school problems. It is also important for parents to make sure that their children can learn in a place that is both interesting and helpful. Parents can start by teaching their kids important skills and strategies for solving problems they can use when they face problems in school.

Thus, parents can help their children improve academically by setting realistic expectations, helping them to understand their academic strengths and weaknesses, and giving them the emotional support they need. So, let the child learn to embrace education without fear and see what it holds. With this in mind, parents should strive to foster a positive relationship between their children and education. By doing this, parents will be providing their children with the opportunity to develop a deep understanding of and appreciation for education and a love for learning.