Emotional support

Having trouble in school can have a big effect on a child's emotional health.

It's important to keep an eye on this and give them praise and encouragement. 

Image of a child struggling with homework

  • It's hard for a kid to see others reading longer, harder books when they are struggling with simpler ones. Or to get bad grades or comments on writing assignments when they don't know why.
  • Many come to believe that they are not smart. This can start a dangerous slide into a stretch of low self esteem that can last years and affect many parts of their life.
  • Image of a parent being encouraging to their childSelf-esteem is when a person feels confident that they can do something well. Low self-esteem is a big problem and often comes from having trouble in school. It's really important for kids to have good self-esteem!


Here's what you can do:

Be encouraging, not critical.

  • Kids who struggle in school are often pretty sensitive about it. Criticism can be devastating.
  • Try to keep positive, no matter what happens.
  • Remind them that it's the effort that counts: all they need to do is try their best. 
  • Praise them for things they do well and when they get through a difficult task.
  • Recognize effort, not whether it's right or wrong ("Wow, you're working so hard!")

Find things your child is good at and make them part of their daily life.

  • Do they like a sport? Music? Art? Card games? Anything they feel good about doing?

  • Schedule those in and give them plenty of time to spend on those activities.

Notice if they seem unhappy and get help if needed.

  • Keep an eye on your child's mood and self-esteem. If they seem out of sorts or down, or if they seem to make comments about not being smart or "good enough", don't ignore this!
  • Talk to them about how they feel. Ask their school to have them talk to a counselor.
  • If they seem extremely anxious or unhappy, or are acting out at home, talk to their doctor and ask about behavioral health options. Behavior is often a sign of an underlying emotional concern. There are people they can see to help with emotional issues. See this other section: Helping your child with behavior challenges. (It will open in a new tab.)

It is important to address emotional concerns right away before they become more serious!