How to Improve Your Tween's Bad Grades

Mother helping daughter with homework
Jamie Grill/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Every parent wants their child to be successful at school and to thrive academically. Sometimes children come home with bad grades and report cards that don’t reveal a child’s true capacity for learning.

If your tween is struggling with bad grades, there’s a lot you can do to help. For one, be understanding about any challenges your child might be facing, such as social issues or even issues at home. Next, help your child improve his grades. Below are a few suggestions that you may find helpful.

Review Homework

The best way to know if your child is struggling is to review his homework from time to time. By doing so, you might be able to identify a problem before it becomes serious. Bring this up with your teen and discuss it with their teacher if necessary.

You can also take the opportunity to coach your child and help answer questions he might have. In addition, consider making flashcards with your child to help him prepare for quizzes or tests.

Make Studying Fun

Let’s face it, most kids don’t love homework. But helping your child attend to his studies is important. Try to make homework enjoyable by providing snacks while he’s studying, encouraging him, or even keeping him company while he pushes through his assignments.

Consider doing something together when his homework is completed, such as taking a walk or making dinner together. Giving him something to look forward to can help him focus on his studies in order to complete them.

Contact the Teachers

If your child isn’t doing well at school, you need to make contact with his teachers.

  • Ask for a parent/teacher conference, either by phone or in person. Go over his homework, tests, and quizzes and ask for specific advice and suggestions on what you might do to help your child.
  • If you think a teacher isn’t supporting your child at school or helping to answer questions your child might have, it may be worth your while to contact the school guidance counselor.
  • Keep track of any conversations you have with your child’s teacher, including emails, in order to give the counselor a complete picture of your child’s problem.

Hire a Tutor

Tutors really do work and they can help improve your child’s bad grades. Some tutors work for free, others are fee-based, usually by the hour.

To find a tutor, contact your child’s school for recommendations or ask other parents for the names of tutors they’ve used. Sometimes teachers also offer after-school assistance, for students who are struggling.

Be Optimistic

Parents can stress their children out and that can severely impact your child’s performance at school. Try not to place too much pressure on your child to succeed.

Let your child know that you have faith in his abilities and that you know he’s trying his best. Offer positive encouragement and let him know that you’re there to help him every step of the way.

Find out What’s Going On

Sometimes grades suffer when something is going wrong in life.

Find out if your child is dealing with bullying, rejection at school or some other issue, such as puberty. You may find that once that problem has been resolved, your child’s grades improve.

Set Goals

Children need goals just like parents do and by helping your child set goals, you’re giving them something specific to work towards.

  • Sit down with your tween and discuss where his grades should be at the end of the semester or quarter.
  • Set realistic goals that are actually achievable. Understand their ability and set smaller milestones to help them feel good.
  • Be sure you and your child review the goals periodically.
  • Don't forget to celebrate once a goal has been reached!
Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Supekar K, Iuculano T, Chen L, Menon V. Remediation of Childhood Math Anxiety and Associated Neural Circuits through Cognitive Tutoring. J Neurosci. 2015;35(36):12574-83. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0786-15.2015

  2. Effects of Bullying. Updated September 12, 2017.