How do you help your kids when they feel overwhelmed? There is a balance between when you should be encouraging your kids to buckle down and put in the work and when you should turn to your child’s teachers for help.
Some students may, at times, require a little bit more assistance than they typically receive during the school day. It is important to recognize when that time has come and how to go about getting the help you need. We hope that this guide will be useful in assisting parents and kids in knowing when and how to seek support from teachers and administration.
When to Keep Putting in the Work at Home
Before we get started, it is important to note that at St. Paul Lutheran School, you’re always more than welcome to ask your child’s teachers for help. Most schools and teachers have an open-door policy.
One of the primary advantages of attending a Christian private school like St. Paul is the fact that class sizes are 40% to 60% smaller than public schools in Michigan. If your child needs help, you need only ask!
The school year often has challenging periods. Every subject will include ideas that your child may find difficult to understand completely. Being your child's loudest cheerleader is sometimes the best thing you can do as a parent. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is to help boost their self-assurance so they can complete the task or grasp the difficult topic.
Sometimes, working through issues without seeking additional help from teachers will boost their confidence even further and help them tackle difficult issues in the future. However, at other times, you do need to bring in reinforcements.
How to Recognize the Signs it’s Time to Ask for Help
If it’s time to ask for help, there will likely be signs.
1) Getting in Trouble in Class
Is your child getting in trouble in class? Is it more trouble than usual? This behavior could be indicative of a child struggling with a subject or a concept. They could be searching for distractions from whatever it is that is frustrating them. It might be time to have a conversation with your child’s teacher and work toward a solution.
2) Excessive Frustration During Class or at Home
If your child is having more difficulty than usual comprehending something or finishing a task, it may be more than just a challenging subject. It could be necessary for you to speak with your child's instructor if the level of difficulty is unexpected.
3) Burning the Candle at Both Ends
Although your child might not express it out loud, you may notice that they are staying up late and/or getting up early to focus on their schoolwork. While it might seem like they’re displaying a good work ethic, it could also be a sign that they are struggling with something and not necessarily communicating that with you.
If it seems like your child is spending more time on assignments and subjects than they should be, the answer may be to schedule a chat with a teacher if there isn't an obvious excuse, such as procrastination or athletics.
4) Development of a Poor Attitude
Has your child’s attitude toward school been generally positive but deteriorated over the past few weeks or months? This could manifest from some difficulties they are having grasping something they are learning. A child may require some more time with a teacher or tutor if their attitude toward school or a specific topic significantly deteriorates.
5) Fatigue, Stress, and Poor Eating Habits
Stress and fatigue can be expected during the semester, but when these are experienced in excess, they could signify anxiety. We wrote about how to help students who are experiencing stress, burnout, and anxiety here. Some signs indicating anxiety and burnout include:
- Excessive exhaustion and fatigue
- Ongoing issues with insomnia
- Frequently clenching their jaw and grinding teeth
- Struggling to find the motivation to do schoolwork
- Poor diet and nutrition habits
- Irritability with family, friends, and teachers
- Poor performance on school assignments, especially those on which they do not typically struggle
Demonstrating these signs is a sure indication it’s time to speak to teachers and administrators.
6) More Procrastination Than Usual
If there is something that parents universally despise, it’s procrastination. It’s not uncommon for kids (and adults) to wait until the last minute to work on assignments; however, their failure to plan and do their tasks in a timely manner can affect you and the rest of your family.
Even if you deprive your kid of all privileges, they still seem to put off starting (or finishing) assignments until the very last minute. It's possible that your child is putting off something because they don't comprehend it. Their procrastination may be attached to anxiety because they just don’t seem to grasp the concepts.
When your child is procrastinating more than usual, it might be time to talk to their teacher(s).
7) The Desire to Miss Class
Does it seem like your child is always feeling sick? Do they seem like they don’t want to go to class? It’s not unusual for kids to want to stay home once in a while. You can expect that they won’t always be enthusiastic about school. However, their desire to miss class may be indicative of a failure to grasp whatever they’re learning.
It is worth noting that some of these are also signs of anxiety disorders that could necessitate even more help. Your teachers, administrators, and school counselors will be able to point you in the right direction for resources.
How to Ask Your Child’s Teachers for Help
When you’ve determined it’s time to ask for help, here are a few tips to help you do it the right way:
- Review Their Communication Policy: Most likely, your child's instructors have established methods of communication that work best for you and them. When you are asking for help, make sure you review their communication policies.
- Ask With Humility and Respect: Make sure you ask respectfully and acknowledge that the instructor has the knowledge, experience, and resources necessary to help your child. Remember, your child's teacher wants to help!
- Know as Much as You Can About Your Student’s Struggles: It is crucial for parents to learn as much as they can about their children's difficulties so that their teacher can provide them with the assistance they need. Naturally, this implies that the first line of defense against academic difficulties must be the parents. You must also serve as a resource for them. The more you understand about how they're struggling, the better your child's teacher will be able to help.
- Have Your Child Ask if at All Possible: We have mostly spoken about advocating for your student, but part of your responsibility is to encourage your child to seek out assistance on their own. If at all possible, have them schedule meetings with their teachers. Support them by taking them to class extra earlier or arranging for them to stay later.
- Know When It’s Time to Seek Help from Administrators: If your child is showing signs of anxiety, they may need additional assistance and resources. In this case, it is important to talk to administrators and school counselors in addition to their teachers.
St. Paul Lutheran School Northville, MI
If you’re in the Northville area, we would love to talk to you more about how your child can be part of our school. Our teachers are some of the best in Northville, MI. We are committed to seeing your child grow and thrive. If you have any questions about St. Paul Lutheran School, please reach out to us today!