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For a parent, sending your kids to school is amazing. You suddenly have free (and quiet) time and you don’t have to spend all day Googling “Ways to entertain my kids.” Plus, going to school can be fun for kids. It’s where they’ll make most of their friends, learn new things, and grow. It’s an exciting time, but having kids in school also raises an added pressure of helping your child succeed academically. When your child brings home a report card with poor grades, it can feel personal—but it’s not. Here are five ways to help encourage your child to receive better grades.

Be Helpful, But Don’t Takeover

When working on homework, it’s natural for kids to get frustrated when they reach a problem they don’t understand. So, having a loving, helpful parent nearby to come to their aid can help your child feel calm. The key to helping your child with homework is to guide them through a problem, let them work out the next one on their own while you watch, and then leave them to the rest of the assignment. When your child is struggling with an easy subject you are well versed in, resist the urge to grab the pencil and fill in the answers. Never do your child’s homework for them. For one, they lose the opportunity to learn. It also increases their anxiety because they know they are failing in some way they can’t yet understand. So, give them some space and let them work to complete problems on their own before stepping in to help.

Resist Punishment

When your child brings home a bad report card, your first instinct may be to take away television time, refuse free time, and limit the time they spend with friends. This is not a positive reaction and can worsen grades and behavior. Instead, try implementing the “When you,” rule. For example, “When you are finished studying, then you can go to a friend’s house.” Stick to this rule and ask to see their homework when they say they are done. This way you know it is finished and you can review it before they turn it in.

Change Study Habits

Instead of punishing your child, make some positive changes. Is the area they work in too cluttered and loud? Do they need a snack before they work on homework? Are they remembering all their assignments and bringing them to school? You may find that your child studies the best right after a snack and thirty minutes of playtime; after all, they deserve a break after being at school all day. You might also consider using a large whiteboard or wall calendar to help schedule their assignments so they can visualize the due-dates and stay organized. A filing cabinet can also be beneficial for keeping important papers safe. Changing your child’s study habits may help them do better on small assignments and raise their grades.

Set Goals

If your child comes home with a D in math, express encouragement instead of disappointment. Offer to help them with their homework and challenge them to get a C on the next report card. Setting goals should be realistic. Don’t expect your child to jump from a D to an A; take baby steps. When your child reaches their goal, praise and celebrate their success.

Reward

Motivating children to do well in school is a tough battle and sometimes a reward is what helps win that battle. However, over-rewarding your children teaches them that there will always be a physical reward for hard work, which isn’t always the case. My parents didn’t reward me for each report card, but they did reward me when I graduated with a high GPA. Find a reward system that works for you and implement it. Something that you might consider doing, is visiting Infinity Coins. Infinity coins reward good grades with store credit and a foreign coin for each A your child receives on their report card. This option is encouraging for students and it doesn’t come from you!

When your child comes home with a bad report card, don’t feel discouraged. This doesn’t mean that your child is a bad person or that you are a bad parent, it just means they are having a hard time. Try to understand their situation and make it easier for them.

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