How to help your children improve their grades

Report card day: A time when parents open an envelope from their children's schools, crossing their fingers that only the early portion of the alphabet is listed. Sometimes, they breathe a sigh of relief - their child is doing well. However, you may have experienced the opposite. If your kids are earning poor grades, you might be eager to help them make changes and improve those letters - you've got college to worry about, after all! Here are some ways you can help your children boost their grades:

Facilitate conversations
Before you start working on improving grades with your kids, you should get to the root of the problem. Schedule a time to talk with their teacher and ask how your children are doing in class. Do they participate? Do they seem engaged? What topics do they struggle with most? These questions can give you a better picture of what's going on with your kids.

Also, have a discussion with your children, asking similar questions. Just be sure to show understanding and compassion - you don't want your kids to mistake your interest for accusations.

Help them set goals
Goal setting for kids is an important skill - even adults do it! Your children's overarching goals may be to go up a letter grade in a certain class, but you can also help them set smaller goals. For instance, baby steps might include: "study for one hour every night," "go over notes after school" or "ask at least one question in class." These easy benchmarks won't overwhelm your kids and will help them improve their grades.

Post every goal in your children's homework space so they can see what they're working toward. Using a Foam WriteyBoard allows your kids to cross off each item once they finish it - marking completed tasks is definitely gratifying. Just be sure to rewrite recurring tasks on your whiteboard every morning.

Help your child get organized and improve his or her grades.
Help your child get organized and improve his or her grades.

Get them organized
Sometimes, students' grades start slipping because they lack organization. They may lose assignments in the pile of paper that is their backpacks or not realize an important project was due this week. Taking time to reorganize will prevent these easy-to-avoid mistakes. Here are some organizing steps to take:

"A stick-on dry erase board can help your child stay organized."

Make an assignment calendar: Your kids' assignment calendar should contain the due dates of their homework, projects and tests. You can buy them a notebook calendar to take to class (that way, they can jot down assignments as soon as they hear them) and post one in your home. Use your dry erase board to create a large, month-by-month calendar.

Prioritize: The calendar lets you and your kids see when assignments are due and create a list of priorities for completing tasks. Things that are due sooner or that will take more study time should be given priority over fast and simple assignments. Talk with your children to learn which classes they struggle with and which they find easy.

Get supplies: Pocket folders, binders and accordion folders can become your children's best friends. You can assign pockets with labels, such as "yet to do" and "ready to turn in." Place homework in the correct pockets so your kids will know what they still have to work on and what they can hand in.

Identify why your children are struggling to help them improve.
Identify why your children are struggling to help them improve.

Celebrate effort
When your kids earn poor grades, their confidence dwindles. Building it back up may help your kids work harder and be more likely to participate in class. Whenever your kids earn good results, celebrate! For instance, if your kids studied very hard for a test and earned a grade that's better than their past achievements, do something fun as a family. You might spend extra time in the park, go out for dinner or play games.

Celebrating shows your children that you're proud of them and that they can be proud of themselves. This boosts confidence. Getting low grades can be rough on your kids, but with your help, they may gain back some confidence and improve their performance.

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Dry Erase Board, Whiteboard

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