Report card day can often be a stressful experience for both parents and students. Parents facing a poor report card find themselves disappointed by the results and apprehensive about the best way to discuss failing grades with their child’s teacher. Students feel discouraged if they’ve been struggling to do better, but are just not able to make the grades. Sylvan educators believe that report card time doesn’t have to be a source of mutual frustration and unhappiness for parents or their children. By following a few simple steps, parents can empower their child to bring home a report card that will make everyone proud of progress and accomplishments.
“The first report card of the year can create feelings of pride, happiness and excitement for many parents. It can also produce feelings of anxiety and frustration for those who are surprised by their child’s grades. However, effective and continuous communication among teachers, parents and students can help minimize the ‘report card surprise,'” says Dr. Richard E. Bavaria, Ph.D., Sylvan Learning’s Senior Vice President for Education Outreach.
Sylvan Learning, the leading provider of tutoring services to children of all ages and skill levels, offers the following tips to ease report card stress:
· Communicate with your child. Don’t wait until the report cards are issued — it’s too late then. From the first day of school, make sure your child knows that there will be a conversation about school every evening. Conversations do not include one-word answers and half-hearted attempts at discussion. They demand open-ended questions.
· Meet with your child’s teachers. Keep an open line of communication with your child’s teacher. Talk frankly with the teacher about any skill deficiencies that are causing performance problems and work with the teacher to address these issues. Also explore other resources offered by the school such as tutors, homework centers, pre-school day classes or online subject support.
· Establish a study plan with your child. Work with your child to develop regular study habits and to spend an adequate amount of time daily on homework and studying for tests. Be aware of assignments and whether your child is using time effectively to tackle homework and study. Encourage him to put forth his best effort and to persevere.
· Get help immediately if you see a problem. Don’t fall prey to your child’s promise to do better. He may not be able to correct certain issues without help from the adults in his life.
· Stay in touch with your child’s school counselor. The link between home and school is vital. The counselor can request periodic progress reports between grading periods and set up conferences with teachers, parents and students when necessary.
· Be sure to keep report cards in perspective. Remember that this is just one measure at one particular time of how your child is doing. It is an important one, but make sure you continue to motivate and encourage if your child is doing well in other areas. Positive motivation from parents is a great way to build your child’s self-esteem and can lead to successful grades down the road.
A report card is more than just a series of letters. It’s an invaluable tool to help parents evaluate their child’s academic progress and assess his strengths and weaknesses. “You and Your Child’s Report Card,” a free parents’ guide, is available from Sylvan Learning at http://tutoring.sylvanlearning.com/report-card-guide.cfm. The guide gives parents numerous tips and suggestions to turn report card day into a day of achievement and celebration.