How to Avoid Report Card Surprises

By Dr. Rick Bavaria

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One thing on the minds of both students and parents is the first report card. Report cards are rarely a surprise for kids, so don’t let them be a surprise for you.

These tips will make sure those report cards aren’t a sore subject with your family and help keep kids on their toes until summer break.


Stay committed.

You and your child made some education goals together at the beginning of the year. Be supportive if your child needs help reaching those goals, and help keep their momentum up.


Ask questions.

Keep an open line of communication with your child about their school day, assignments, progress toward special deadlines. Are they getting assignments done and turned in? Going to class? Taking good notes? Ask to see the notes from today, the first draft of the book report, or the progress toward the social studies term paper.

Just as you’re talking with your child every day, communicate occasionally with the school, with teachers, with guidance counselors, and with administrators if necessary.


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Expect good behavior.

Don’t let bad behavior get in the way of success! Discuss any ongoing issues with your child’s teachers, and make sure they are exhibiting good behaviors. They should listen to instructions, understand school rules, respect others, and avoid goofing off in class.


What about your behavior?

Do you monitor TV, study, homework, computer and video-game time? Are you a good role model?


Stick to routines.

Keep up the routines for success in school – specific times for study, homework, recreation, meals, sleeping, church, sports. They’re more important than we realize.


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Talk about responsibility.

Especially at this time of year, talk with your child about potential rewards for showing they’ve been responsible with their schoolwork. Consider rewarding them with extra curfew time or a little extra spending money if they get good grades or tackle a particularly difficult project.


Hang in there.

Kids can be tempted to let their grades slide. Be sure to help them stay motivated and keep up a positive attitude toward school through the end of the year.