It’s report card season! This time of the school year gives parents the first glimpse at how their child is performing in class and allows them to identify the areas where their child needs improvement. Discussing report cards with your child can be a stressful experience (for kids and parents), but there are ways to make this discussion positive and productive. Here are a few tips you can use to make the most out of reviewing your child’s report cards, which provide valuable information and insight into where your child currently stands academically.
Prepare for the Chat
Before you have a talk with your child about their report cards, it’s essential to get into the right mindset. Remember that a bad report card isn’t the end of the world and that any struggles they are having are not insurmountable. Plan a time to have a distraction-free chat where everyone can be open and attentive during the conversation. Also, remember not to compare your child’s grades to that of a sibling or friend, as this can lower self-esteem and increase stress or anxiety.
Start Positive, End Optimistic
Begin by praising the positive; tell your child you are proud of them for each subject they did well in and for others they have shown improvement in. This will help your child relax and make them comfortable discussing their reports. You can also use their experiences in the classes they did well in to help them improve in the ones they are struggling with. By asking questions like, “What went right?” or “Why do you think you had success in this class?” you can look for ways to use their positive experiences in one class to create a recipe for success in another. Ending the talk with words of encouragement will help them to walk away feeling confident and motivated.
Be Supportive (Even if You’re Disappointed)
Being supportive and encouraging can go a long way in helping to keep your child in the right mindset to improve. Doing things like highlighting their strengths, relating your struggles from when you were a student, or offering to get them a tutor for any subjects that they are struggling in are all things that will make them feel supported, which will help to lessen any feelings of stress or helplessness.
The best way to get constructive discussions going is to get your child talking. Ask them what their favourite class and assignment was, what areas they would like to improve before the next report card, how they think they can do better over the next few months, and what subjects or topics they are most excited about. This is also an excellent opportunity to find out if there are any distractions or issues outside the classroom that are affecting their performance.
Set New Goals
Having a report card allows you to set goals with your child. Attempting to turn a C into a B or an A into an A+ can be a very motivating factor for a student, as creating a challenge can increase their drive and give them something to strive for when the next report card arrives.
Remember the SMART formula for goal setting:
- Specific: Make goals clear and precise. For example, plan to study math for an extra 20 minutes per day.
- Measurable: Choose easily quantifiable goals, such as reading a certain number of pages daily or increasing test marks by 10%.
- Achievable: Break down larger goals into smaller objectives so that they don’t seem overwhelming; small steps work towards more considerable achievements.
- Relevant: Set worthwhile goals that matter to your child, focusing on strengthening their areas of weakness.
- Time-bound: Every goal needs a deadline date. Setting a target date gives your child a finish line to run towards. Report cards are great for this because there are a few months between them, and they give you comparable results.
Prepare for Parent/Teacher Meetings
If you meet with your child’s teacher after receiving the report card, thoroughly review it beforehand so that you won’t use up most of the session reviewing it. You can instead use this time with their teacher to discuss ways your child can improve in the classroom and what you can do at home to help them succeed.
Scholars is always here to help! We offer complimentary report card consultations where we identify your child’s strengths and areas for improvement and create a personalized plan to help them improve. Book a complimentary assessment today!