Parents, you’ve survived the first semester of school. You might be tempted at this time of year to coast until the holidays. I urge you, resist this temptation. By this time in the semester, your child is probably showing some patterns—good or bad—in the classroom and at home. Notice how he’s doing. Is he struggling? Is he enjoying it? Is he having consistent problems in the same subject?
This is a perfect time to tackle any issues your child is having at school to ensure the rest of the year goes smoothly. While each child is unique, I have noticed common problems with each age group. They are not permanent problems. They can be fixed, but you will have to notice them and be proactive.
Children in these grades are still adjusting to their new life at school. You may notice that they are fatigued, have a hard time concentrating or are irritable. This is normal and typically means your child is tired and needs extra rest. Pull back on the extracurricular activities and allow your child to have more downtime.
Since this is typically the year when students begin learning more complex subjects like reading and math, you might notice your child is struggling more at school. Talk to his teacher to make sure he isn’t behind. If he is, go ahead and get him tested for any learning disabilities. As long as he doesn’t test for reading issues, he will probably be fine and will catch up with the rest of the class soon.
2nd, 3rd and 4th Grade—
These are the years when it’s tempting to overschedule your kids. They begin to show interest in sports and music and what their peers are doing. If you notice your child is acting irritable or anxious this time of year, it’s probably because she is doing too much. Dial down the activities. Most children can’t handle three nights or afternoons a week of extra-curricular.
5th, 6th and 7th Grade—
These are tough years, as I’m sure you know. Kids are going through puberty, they feel anxious around the opposite sex, and their self-esteem is low. If you notice your child is struggling in school or socially, talk to him about it. Don’t talk to him about it right after school. He needs time to decompress. Talk to him when he has energy. Your child will need extra attention from you at this age. Resist the urge to disconnect no matter how different or difficult your child seems as he grows into a teen.