My kid hates school.  What do I do?

That is a great question.  The first step is that you actually care.  Believe it or not, there are parents out there who simply do not care about their child’s academic success.  So, congratulations on being a loving, caring parent!  But what do you do about the problem?

Here is a step-by-step guide to helping your kid to at least hate school a little less.  Step one: Find out if your child is ill.  You may think that’s a joke, but young children can’t always express to you that they are not feeling well.  It can quickly affect a child’s academic performance.  A quick check up can improve things in a short time.

Step two: If step one does not solve the problem, delve a little deeper.  Is there somebody at school who may be bullying your child?  It’s okay to ask them more than once.  Sometimes kids think telling their parents could lead to even more bullying as retribution for “telling.”  If they admit that they are being bullied, teased or harassed, please contact the teacher immediately to work to change things.

Step three: If those other two things are not the answer, read on.  It may well be that your child is acting out because he or she is feeling left behind by their peers.  Ascertain what subject they are having trouble with and pinpoint the skills they need to master.  If they are struggling with math, make some flashcards or worksheets to do together.  If you can afford to, hire a tutor.  If they hate reading, take a trip to the local library and pick out some books together.  Then take turns reading them together.  You can alternate pages, paragraphs or chapters.  Spending time together, in a non-competitive environment may make all the difference.

Further, encourage your child to try, even though things may be hard.  Praise them for doing a good job and sticking to it.  Do not cave in to whining, complaining or temper tantrums.  Insist that you will never give up on them and never stop being their cheerleader, even if you are tempted to throw in the towel.  Loving, yet firm commitment is what a struggling child really needs.