As parents, we understand how important it is that our kids get an education. Having good grades in high school is the key to getting into a good college, which is a necessary step towards being successful as an adult. But good grades don’t come easily to every student. If your teenager is struggling in school, there are things you can do to help put them on the path to success.

How to Help Your Struggling Student

High school can be a difficult time for teenagers. Even teens who excelled in middle school can find themselves struggling once they get into high school. Expectations are different at this level. Not only does the coursework become more difficult, but teens are now expected to carry much more responsibility for their own learning. This is a necessary step towards preparing teenagers for college. Unfortunately, it can throw some teens for a loop, and they can find themselves struggling to get good grades for the first time. Here is what you can do to help.

  1. Be proactive – Take action sooner rather than later. Don’t wait for things to get worse.
  2. Expectations and consequences – Have clear expectations for your teen and follow through on consequences. If they let their grades drop, they lose privileges. Plain and simple.
  3. Reward good grades – Consequences shouldn’t just be negative. Reward your teen when they bring home good grades.
  4. Communicate with teachers – Stay in contact with your teen’s teachers and attend parent/teacher conferences. Stay involved.
  5. Use online grade books – Many schools now use computer programs that allow parents to monitor their teen’s grades and assignments on the internet.
  6. Create a routine – Routines help reinforce good study habits. Have your teen do their homework right after school or dinner. Don’t allow video games until after homework is done.
  7. Hire a tutor – Sometimes, our teens need more help than we can give. If your teen is struggling with a certain subject, it may be time to get them a tutor.

Image CC by 2.0, by Tulane Public Relations, via Wikimedia Commons

Tips on How to Get Good Grades

Because high school is preparing teenagers for college, teens now hold more responsibility on their shoulders than ever before. Not every student is ready for this. As a result, some teens reach high school and find that they simply don’t have the skills they need to get good grades. Here are a few tips on how your teen can bring up their grades.

  1. Get organized –  Creating an organizational system will help your teen keep track of what they need to do when. Have them write down their assignments and due dates in a student organizer or planner.
  2. Create a study schedule – Having a study schedule can help students manage their time effectively when they are juggling multiple subjects.
  3. Read the textbook – This one should go without saying, but if your teen doesn’t read the textbook, they are missing out on information that is essential to making good grades. Have your teen read the chapter before the teacher covers it in class so they can get the most out of the lecture.
  4. Participate in class – Listen not only to what the teacher says but also to what the other students in the class have to say. Take part in the discussion and ask questions.
  5. Do your homework – This is another one of those obvious things that teenagers sometimes need to be reminded of. Doing your homework ensures that you don’t get zeros for missing assignments and helps your teen learn the material at the same time.
  6. Learn to study effectively – Knowing how your teen learns can help you discover how they should study. Does your teen do best studying alone with flashcards? Or would they do better in a study group with their friends encouraging them? Try a variety of methods to figure out what works best for your teen.
  7. Take good notes – Learning to take good notes is almost as important as reading the textbook. The video at the end of this section gives a great tutorial on how to take good notes.

Helping Teens With Learning Disabilities

Sometimes a student who is struggling to get good grades has a problem that goes beyond just needing to learn how to take better notes or improving their time management skills. If you think your teen may have a learning disability, here is what you can do to help.

  1. Get a diagnosis – The first step to helping a teen with a learning disability is to get a diagnosis. This will allow you understand the condition, which will let you figure out how to best overcome it.
  2. Be supportive – It is vital that parents are supportive when their child is struggling with a learning disability. Stay positive and make sure you let your teen know that having a learning disability does not make them any less of a person and that they are not stupid.
  3. Get professional help – Professional help can teach a student how to overcome their learning disability through techniques that have been proven to work.
  4. Reach out to the school – Work with the school to set your child up with all the resources available to help them succeed and to create an individualized learning plan that will work for them.

How Lack of Sleep Effects Grades

It is important that parents realize that a lack of sleep can cause grades to slip. Early start times at schools make it hard for students to get enough sleep. According to pediatricians, teenagers function on different circadian rhythms. They are naturally hardwired to stay up later at night and to wake up later in the morning. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that high schools start no earlier than 8:30 a.m., but unfortunately, many high schools want students sitting at their desks far earlier than this. When teens don’t get enough sleep, they are more likely to have trouble in school. Making sure your teen gets enough hours of sleep every night can help them get good grades.

Help Your Teen Get Good Grades

Using these tips, you can help your struggling teenager to get good grades. By identifying the problem and taking action, you can make sure your teen gets the education they need to succeed as an adult.

Image CC by 0, Public Domain, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration via Wikimedia Commons

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