It’s inevitable. Your child will, at one point or another, come home with a bad grade. Try to resist your urge to let your child know how you feel immediately and take some time to think about your reaction to the grade.  While it may be just a case of not trying very hard, there may be a variety of reasons at play, such as problems at school, learning challenges or attention issues.

Here are tips on how to handle the news of a bad grade and help your child improve for the future:


Don’t overreact

It’s easy to overreact if you suspect your child could have done better.  But an overreaction may bring negative consequences like discouraging your child from showing you disappointing performance in the future or being less receptive to offers of help. Instead, take some time out to reflect on what your child has just shown you.  Speak to your spouse or partner and decide together how best to handle the situation before approaching your child about it.


Communicate the issue

Once you are beyond the surprised stage, sit down with your child and ask why she thinks she was given the grade. Ask if she is having problems with the specific subject or if she doesn’t like the teacher? It’s best to encourage comfortable, open communicate with your child to get to the bottom of the issue.


Talk to the teacher

While your child can help you shed some light on why the bad grade happened, it’s equally important to open communication lines with the teacher to gain their perspective. Just as children don’t like receiving bad grades, teachers don’t like giving them. Set up a meeting to go over how your child is doing in class, what the teacher believes the problem to be and their suggestions for helping your child improve.  You may also ask to be provided with regular updates on how your child is doing.


Get extra help

If it turns out your child is having problems with a specific subject, arrange for her to get extra help from a tutor or older student in the school can make a tremendous difference. One-on-one help for the hard subjects will help her focus on the areas where she needs improvement and help her learn new techniques to achieve positive results.

If it turns out your child has attention issues or a learning disability, it’s best to seek the help of a professional as soon as possible. 


Cut back on extra-curricular activities

As parents, we tend to want our children to experience “it all”. We therefore sign them up for after-school activities that may cut into homework time. If homework and grades seem to be suffering, however, it’s time to cut back and achieve a better balance between grades and optional activities.


Set goals

If your child has brought home a report card with an F, it’s important to sit down with them and set a goal that the next grade will be higher (perhaps a C or a B). There’s nothing wrong with aiming for an A but you should both recognize that it could take a while to achieve. Keep track of your child’s progress by make it visible, either in his room or on the fridge. This will help grow self confidence and act as motivation.


The way you deal with your child’s bad grade can affect the way he views himself and how he approaches you with bad news in the future. It’s important to help your child with a subject he is struggling with in such a way that will encourage him to be honest with you, try his best and approach the next project with a positive mind frame.