girl struggles with online school

How to Know If Your Child Is Struggling at School

By Karen Dube, LCSW

Education has changed so radically due to COVID 19; everyone has had to adjust.  As parents, it is important to be aware that students may have the hardest time adjusting to these changes and may also have the hardest time expressing their feelings as the result of the changes. When children/teens don’t have the ability to articulate their worries, fear, or academic struggles, they may start to change behaviorally. This change in behavior is their message to us that something is not ok at school.

What are some signs that your child may be struggling at school? It may not be as obvious as you think.

  1. Refusal to discuss school. Unwillingness to answer questions about their day in general, certain subjects, teachers, or their social experiences at school could be a signal that they are struggling in one, or all those areas.
  2. An attitude change about school. If your child becomes angry or distant when you ask about school, this could be how your child is behaviorally expressing that they are struggling at school.
  3. Difficulty eating or sleeping. Insomnia and/or lack of appetite could be the result of worry. Young children may be worried that their parents will be angry at them for not being successful at school, while older students may feel anxious about not meeting their own academic or social expectations at school.
  4. Excessive time spent on homework. While all parents should expect their children to have homework, if students are missing family activities, or activities with their peers, they may be struggling with their academic content.
  5. Teachers express concern about your student. As parents, it is always difficult to hear that our children are not excelling at school, however, if a teacher expresses specific concerns (socially or academically), or if a number of teachers express identical concerns, it is important for parents to acknowledge these reports. Be sure to open the lines of communication with your child’s teachers and work together as a team to help your student adjust and succeed.
  6. Your child has new behavioral issues. If your student has not had any behavioral issues at school in the past, this is a  clear sign that your child is struggling. Worsening behavioral issues could also be a sign for concern. Remember that behavioral issues may look different for online schooling, so be sure to monitor your child’s internet usage.
  7. Low grades. A pattern of low grades, across their whole report card, or in a specific subject area could also highlight an area where your child may need extra support with school.

These are not the only signs that your child may be struggling in school. While an adjustment period is to be expected with such drastic changes in our education system, if any of these behaviors are occurring for the first time, they are not to be minimized.

If you are concerned about your child’s behavior or performance in school, consider seeking professional guidance. These signs could be signal that your child is struggling with an emotional, developmental, or behavioral condition.