Stopping your kids underachieving at school

Your kids are clearly bright and are expected good grades, but they don’t want to put in the work and underachieving as a result – what can you do about it? There are many reasons why someone may be underachieving. They may be distracted with other goals or they may dislike the school environment due to bullies. Whatever the case, it’s important to help them redevelop an enthusiasm for learning.

Here are some ways that you can stop your kids underachieving:

Understand what they like and dislike

Whilst children should be encouraged to do their best at all subjects, you shouldn’t be pushing them to focus on subjects they don’t like and dismissing subjects they’re not in favour of. For example, don’t force them to focus on maths if their passion is art and drama – this could cause them to resent the subject more and could be causing them to not follow their full potential in their preferred subjects. Get to know your children’s interests at school so that you can support them in the right way.

Reduce distractions

If your kids are underachieving, you may benefit from enforcing a structured study time and getting rid of distractions. This article at Urbanest points out some of these common distractions getting in the way of productivity – it could be gadgets such as video games consoles, TV and phones, or it could be a case of friends being a negative influence. By encouraging a set study time without these distractions, they’re more likely to get their head down and do their work. Afterwards, they can then have the reward of leisure time.

Reward good work with treats

Whilst many children can see the long-term benefits of achieving good grades, they may not see the short-term benefits, which can cause them to underperform. Every time your child achieves good grades, make sure to reward them so that they get more short-term satisfaction out of doing well. You could even give them the incentive of a big expensive treat such as a holiday or a console they’ve wanted if they achieve certain grades at the end of the year.

Don’t do their work for them

Your children need to develop a work ethic themselves – if you’re constantly helping them with their work, they could be becoming dependant on you. Help them with homework that they’re struggling at, but don’t tell them the answer – make them work these answers out for themselves.

Learn to compliment/criticise correctly

Positive encouragement is all about complimenting and criticising correctly. You don’t want to always be praising them, nor do you want to be constantly putting them down. Instead always focus on what they have improved and what they can improve in the future. Psychology Today has an excellent article on the art of criticising and complimenting and how you can spur people on to do better without making them big headed or contrastingly offending them.

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