The classroom is one of the most important places when it comes to youth development. It’s where children learn math, sciences, and art. As well as crucial social skills that they will carry with them into adulthood. Since they are away from home, it can be hard to pinpoint what’s happening. Especially if you have cause for concern like poor academic performance and behavior. What can you do to address these concerns at home? And when should you bring your pediatrician into the conversation?
Addressing Poor Academic Performance
Have you noticed your child’s academic performance has been declining? Talk to them about what’s been going on. Perhaps they’ve been seated at the back of the room and have a harder time seeing. Or they could be in a larger-sized classroom and are navigating a new learning environment. Instances like these may have a simple solution like requesting a seat closer to the board or just a little time to acclimate. After speaking with your child, you may still not know the cause of their poor classroom performance. If that’s the case, consider contacting the teacher. Let them know what you’re noticing and perhaps they can provide further insight into what may be going on at school.
There are many instances where children are having a hard time meeting the higher classroom expectations. Lessons get more difficult and so does the homework. Often, a child may just need extra time to learn the material. Tutors and study groups are great resources to provide your child with more time to understand the subject.
Addressing Poor Behavior
Adjusting to life at school can present a real challenge to some children. They may be experiencing big emotions like frustration and disappointment. If they’re unequipped to handle these new experiences, it could cause behavioral problems. But just like how a lost toy can cause a tantrum, these new behavioral issues do not always point to a disorder.
At home, you may be able to identify if there’s a cause for the behaviors. Talk to your child and listen for commonalities. There may be a certain trigger that causes the behavior. Other things to try at home are:
- Addressing the topic of behavior. Explain your expectations clearly.
- Consider their environment, is it new stress or anxiety that has come up?
- Give your child a choice. Asking them if they want to bathe before or after dinner gives them a choice and helps them feel more independent.
- Create effective consequences by using rewards, being consistent, being clear, and using set rules.
It’s common that a change in behavior is a temporary emotional/behavioral problem and only requires time and patient parenting.
When to Contact your Pediatrician
If you’re still unsure how to address the situation after much time has passed and you’ve spoken with your child and their teachers, it’s time to contact your pediatrician. Pediatric professionals are no strangers to classroom concerns and the possibilities that could be causing them. They can check for physical problems, like hearing and seeing to see if it’s affecting their classroom experience. Pediatricians will also be able to help identify any behavioral or developmental issues as well as learning disabilities. There are some common disorders and disabilities that are diagnosed in school-age children.
If your child has had ongoing difficulties with learning or behavioral problems, it’s crucial to visit your pediatrician. A child’s success and health is their goal. They can help assess the situation, make recommendations and oversee testing if necessary. Regardless of what your child needs, your pediatrician is there to help.
Sources: Contemporary Pediatrics, Nemours Kids Health, Child Mind Institute, Public School Review, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention