October 9


What to do if your child is struggling in school

By NeuroHealth Arlington Heights

October 9, 2022

If your child’s having a difficult time in school, it can have long-lasting consequences for their confidence and self-esteem. It can even affect the mood in your household when your child is struggling with homework, socializing, or classroom behavior. Learning to recognize signs of struggle in your child can help you identify when they need some extra help.

Use this article to help you identify the signs that your child may be struggling at school. Discover some strategies that can help your child feel more successful in the classroom, and learn about when you should have your child evaluated for a disability. By getting your child the services they need early in their educational career, you can improve their behavior, increase their classroom confidence, and help them thrive at school and beyond.

How Do You Know When Your Child Is Struggling in School?

School by vazovsky is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0

Every child is different, so they may express their struggles in different ways. You know your child best, so it’s important to watch for changes in their mood or behavior that might indicate challenges. Here are some common signs of struggle to look for in your child:

  • Difficulty sleeping: Worries about school may keep your child up at night. Difficulties understanding the material, following directions, or relating to peers can cause anxiety and worry in your child, which can hinder their sleeping.
  • Changes in eating: Your child may eat less if worry or distraction causes tummy troubles or forgetfulness. Alternatively, some children may overeat as a way of dealing with negative feelings, so it’s important to monitor changes in your child’s eating habits.
  • Attitude changes: Sudden changes in your child’s attitude can reveal difficulties. For example, if your child used to love going to school but has become resistant, resentful, or uninterested, they may be struggling.
  • Poor behavior at school: Children may act out if they’re struggling in the classroom. They may express frustration or boredom by disrespecting the teacher, breaking rules, talking during lessons, or causing disruptions.
  • Drop in grades: If your child’s grades start to drop, they may be struggling with the classroom material or engaging with their classwork. A drop in grades may result from challenges learning the course material, or it can result from behavioral struggles like poor time management, disorganization, or even anxiety.

Besides watching for these signs, it’s also important to communicate with your child and their teachers. Asking your child about their day and feelings about school can help you learn about their struggles. Additionally, discussing concerns with your child’s teachers can provide insight into their behaviors and challenges.

What Can You Do To Help Your Child if They’re Struggling?

Fortunately, there are lots of ways you can provide support for your child if they’re struggling in school. Here are some ways you can help your child at school:

Collaborate with Teachers

Work closely with your child’s teachers to ensure they have the support they need in the classroom. Your child’s teacher spends a significant part of the day with them. They can offer insight into your child’s behavior, recommend strategies to improve their classroom success, and help you find administrative support if you think your child can benefit from an individualized education program (IEP).

Prioritize Open Communication

Make communication a priority in your household and with your child. Ask them about their day and their feelings. Listen to their concerns and validate their feelings when they share them. You can also model good communication skills with other members of the household. Establishing a precedent of good communication with your child can help them express their worries and difficulties with you so you can guide them through their feelings.

Use Learning Resources

There are many resources available to help children learn. If your child is falling behind in their coursework, you can get a tutor for your child, find a peer support group, or acquire organizational tools to help them manage their materials. Understanding the cause of their difficulties can help you find the right support resources for their needs.

Make More Time for Fun

Sometimes the best way to help your child with school is to give them a break. Make time for fun in your child’s day by encouraging play, outdoor time, and extracurricular activities. Time away from schoolwork can help your child rest, recharge, and manage their stress.

Encourage and Advocate Openly

Be a good ally for your child by providing support and encouragement. Listen when they express their concerns to you, and advocate for them by working with teachers and education specialists to help them access services or strategies that improve their school performance. Help your child build confidence by identifying and encouraging their strengths. Use positive language and work together with your child to brainstorm solutions for the challenges they face.

When Should You Have Your Child Tested for a Disability?

If you suspect a disability may be causing your child’s struggles in school, it’s never too soon to have them tested. In fact, early intervention can have many positive benefits for your child, such as helping them access the support they need early to prevent or minimize the challenges they face in school. Early intervention can have lifelong benefits for their confidence and self-esteem.

Here at NeuroHealth, we provide assessments for a wide range of common disabilities that can cause your child to struggle in school. Some common disabilities in school-aged children include:

  • Physical disabilities: Problems with vision, hearing, and sensory integration can all hinder your child’s progress in school. At NeuroHealth, we can also assess your child for disabilities related to brain injuries which can impact learning and behavior.
  • Developmental disabilities: ADHD and autism are common developmental disabilities that can affect your child’s success in the classroom. If you suspect your child may have one of these developmental disabilities or a developmental delay, our services can help.
  • Learning disabilities: Learning disabilities like dyslexia can make it harder for your child to keep up with peers in a traditional school environment. Testing can identify these challenges so you can find strategies that work for your child’s learning differences.
  • Social, emotional, and behavioral disabilities: If your child has a condition like anxiety, depression, OCD, or oppositional defiant disorder, they may need extra support to thrive in school.

Schedule an Assessment

If your child is struggling in school, don’t wait to have them evaluated. Contact us today to schedule an appointment. We’re happy to provide more information about what you can expect from your child’s evaluation and how we can help your child overcome difficulties in school.

NeuroHealth Arlington Heights

About the author

For over 20 years, NeuroHealth Arlington Heights has been offering neuropsychological and psychological assessments and treatments for people of all ages. These assessments and treatments address Behavioral, Emotional, & Social Issues, Neurocognitive Functions, and Neurodevelopmental Growth.