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.
- 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.
- Click on this link to see a 1-minute video about how kids can feel when they have trouble in school.
- Self-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!