Hagerstown Parents,

Not all kids love school as you know. There can be social pressures along with academic pressures that make it difficult for your child to enjoy learning and socializing.

Here are some tips to help with their academic challenges.

  • Success is the greatest motivator. Recognize, reinforce, and celebrate your child’s successes and progress—especially small victories. Remember, small victories add up to great accomplishments. Don’t overlook the small things, they add up.
  • Compliment your children for good decisions. It is easy to overlook the good things and focus on the areas of improvement. Most likely, your child is already aware of their weak areas and stuck focusing on those. Shift their focus to the positive and see what happens!
  • Provide regular, nutritious, well-balanced meals. A child who is hungry or not receiving the right nutrients is unlikely to be motivated in school. Many people do not put an emphasis on nutrition like they should. It has a lot bigger impact on your mind and body than people really think!
  • Be certain that your child gets enough rest and sleep. Tired children cannot learn. Even a one-hour deficiency in the amount of sleep a child gets will affect his performance the next day. Sleep allows children to process the previous day’s events, and to consolidate learned and memorized information. In order for a child to have deep, restful sleep, they must go to bed feeling safe, secure, and loved. Avoid conflicts at bedtime. Although they go to bed at a certain time, that does not mean they fall asleep. Dark rooms, cooler temperatures, favorite stuffed animal/blanket, and even white noise can be great sleep aids to help them get longer, better sleep.
  • Work with your child in an effort to improve his organizational, time management, and scheduling skills. Come up with systems and habits to keep their room clean, back pack organized, and proper study time. Do not expect them to figure it out on their own. A lot of adults still have not figured it out, why would your child?
  • Celebrate risk-taking behavior. The willingness to take risks is fundamental to school success and motivation. Make sure they know it is ok to fail as long as you have learned something. The most successful people in the world have failed plenty of times. Reassure them it is part of learning and not to make excuses, just plan to improve each time.
  • Don’t compare your child unfavorably to his siblings. This builds resentment and anger, not motivation. Everyone is different and has their own abilities and what works for them. Help your child figure out their strengths and how to use them to their advantage.
  • Show faith in your child and their ability to learn. Although their academic performance may cause you concern, disappointment, and distress, don’t harp on it. Kids look toward their parents for support when they feel they are not getting it anywhere else. Don’t let them down. It will only develop a lack of trust and communication in the relationship.
  • Take an active (but not intrusive) interest in your child’s hobbies and activities. Show interest in them as a person and their interests, not just school. They need to know that although school is important, so are many other things too.
  • Be willing and able to explain to your child’s teachers and coaches that their lack of motivation may be the effect of their school failure, not the cause. Sometimes people just need to know that others believe in them and are always going to be there to support them. It is not uncommon for kids to feel like everyone is against them when they are struggling. Reassure them over and over this is not the case. Remember their short term memory is really short and a lot is going on in their heads. You might need to give them this reassurance more than you think is necessary.

Let these 10 steps be a foundation for your child’s support system. The more significant people in their lives following the same plan, the quicker the results. As they say, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

If you are interested in contacting Brad Fantle for speaking engagements you may reach him by email at bradfantle@gmail.com. He is a 7th Degree Black Belt with Tiger Rock Martial Arts, has 25 years experience working with children and teaching self-defense, an ADHD Coach and has a BA in Sports & Fitness from the University of Alabama.