Guiding Growth: How to Respond to Your Child’s Report Card
Whether your child excitedly waves their report card in the air the moment they see you or tries to hide it in shame, it can be challenging to know how to react when that important paper (or notification) arrives. You want to celebrate any progress and support them if needed. You also want to hold them accountable to do their best without putting too much pressure on them. It’s a tricky balancing act to know what to do and say.
At Best In Class Education Center, we have years of experience helping parents navigate their child’s grades. Here are some practical ways to connect with, encourage, and support your child when their report card comes home.
4 Ways You Can Respond to Your Child’s Report Card No Matter Their Grades
1. Review Your Child’s Grades and Other Information Contained Within the Report Card
The first step in responding to your child’s report card is to read it. Review your child’s grades and any notes from the teacher or school. In addition to academic performance, you’ll find information on absences, tardies, and conduct, which are also essential to review. Does the report card contain any surprises? If so, plan to discuss them with your child and their teacher. If your child struggles in a specific area, ask yourself if they usually have difficulty with that subject or if this is a new challenge. And, if your child has improved significantly in a subject area or conduct marks, praise them for their efforts!
2. Talk to Your Child About Their Progress
Open and calm communication is essential when speaking with your child about their report card. You may have strong feelings after viewing their grades and feel tempted to express them immediately. Certainly, if you’re excited about what you see, let them know! But in the case of a report card you’d hoped would reflect higher performance, you’ll likely make better headway in a discussion with your child if you first ask their thoughts about their grades.
As you talk to your child, try to determine the following:
- Are any grades a surprise to them?
- Do they believe the grades are accurate?
- Did your child give their best effort this quarter?
- Do they believe any struggles they experienced in the grading period were related to comprehension of subject matter or other factors like difficulty completing assignments on time or trouble focusing? What support do they need to improve?
- If your child consistently brings home high marks, do they feel challenged enough?
Encourage them to express their concerns and set achievable goals. Most importantly, let your child know you’re there to support their biggest dreams.
3. Connect with the Teacher
If you have any concerns about your child’s grades, don’t hesitate to contact their teacher. A parent-teacher conference provides an opportunity to gain insights into your child’s grades, behavior, and learning style. Write down any questions or concerns about your child, and be open to hearing the teacher’s honest feedback. Having a good relationship with your child’s teacher can allow you to monitor their progress more closely and address minor problems before they become more significant challenges.
4. Enlist Professional Support
Sometimes, a report card can help you uncover persistent challenges that may be outside of your abilities to support. Depending on the nature of the struggle, you might enlist the assistance of a tutor or therapist. At Best In Class Education Center, we have over 50 locations nationwide to support children on their educational journeys and build their confidence. If you’re unsure whether your child needs tutoring to close learning gaps or a specialist to assess for an underlying learning disability, your school’s guidance counselor may be a valuable resource to put you on the right path.