By working together with your child to create a plan, you can rectify grade plummeting proactively and not reactively and harbor a stronger sense of trust and communication that lasts long after their struggle.
1. What’s Considered ‘Grade Plummeting’?
Although there’s not an official definition for grade plummeting, we consider it to be a drop in a letter grade or more in a period of weeks, months, or semester. Depending on the cause(s), the timing of a decline could vary drastically.
2. Possible Causes Behind Grade Plummeting
There are a plethora of reasons and potentially a unique combination of several causes behind grade plummeting. Causes can range from distractions to lack of motivation or laziness, and even include chronic disorders, however, we will not explore medical remedies or diagnoses as such should be discussed with your child’s physician.
Possible Causes or Explanations:
- Adapting to a New School
- Problems with Friends, Social Circles
- Inconsistent Sleep Schedule
- After School Activities, Busy Extracurricular Schedules
- Unhealthy Amounts of Video Games & T.V.
- Death or Divorce in Family; Shifting Home Structures
- Chronic Disorders (ADD, ADHD, etc.)
3. Create a Plan of Attack
Learning about the grade plummeting is the first step and requires a healthy dose of patience, understanding and resolve void of overreaction.
- Listen for hints from your child; most times they will talk abstractly about the things bothering them and it’s important to listen for clues in daily conversations.
- Acknowledge the problem with your child, and ask how you can help them by using positive words like ‘together’ when determining how you’ll work through the issue.
- Create a routine, and carefully oversee progress; when results or expectations are not met (classroom focus, homework completion, test improvements, etc.), mention that together you will begin making visits to the school to either discuss weekly issues, or spend time in classes to oversee their behavior. The result of continued dropping or disinterest is further involvement. They will associate further oversight with a lack of production, leaving themselves to figure the best way to stop increased parental involvement.
- Communicate with teachers and administrators to monitor behaviors and track progress. Be transparent about your communications and intentions, not secretive.
4. How Do I Know It’s Working?
- Communication channels remain open and transparent between yourself and child
- Improved attitude and ownership of issue and a resolve to change the negative patterns
- Renewed focus in classroom settings and in the home study environments
- Classroom participation and exemplary behavior with peers
- Homework improvements and/or extra credit attempts
- Grade progress and teacher affirmations of in-class efforts
5. Checking In
It’s wise to set dates for reviewing progress once you’ve begun putting a solution in the works.
Deadlines or goals help the child understand how much time they have to achieve the expectation you’ve set forth. Leaving it open-ended allows for assumptions on results and the best way to achieve the goals and the possibility that your expectations aren’t met.
Attaching incentive to your goals is entirely up to you; and the science on rewarding kids for good behavior is mixed, but here’s some additional reading to help you understand what’s best for your specific situation.