Poor Grades: 5 Effective Ways To React To Your Child’s Report Card

How To React To A Bad Report Card
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Having your child come home with poor grades in a report card, hurts. No sugar-coating needed. Learning the ropes on how to react to poor grades?

Here are 5 ways you can effectively go about it.

1.      Praise The Good Grades

Discussions that begin with praise often turn out the most impactful.

This is because when you start the conversation from the point of praise, you mellow the defensive nerve which makes them open to receiving whatever you say next in good faith.

On the matter of reacting to poor grades in a report card, therefore, a good place to start would be to acknowledge the comments about their maybe neatness and attentiveness in class, and the fact that they made an A in Literature and Geography.

It is expedient that your child understands that you are impartial and seeing everything, not just the negatives.

Chances are, (if you really look at it), your child’s report card contains good information, too.

Pick on something positive to talk about so your child doesn’t feel like all you see is just their bad grades and no efforts in the other subjects.

But if you honestly can’t find something positive about the report card, reach out to his teachers and ask.

You could request they help you interpret the report and then say something like “I’d like to talk about how my child can improve his performance in school, and I’d like if you be so kind, to point out to me, her strengths and weaknesses, as well as your specific suggestions for improvement?”.

Remember that for children, a report card can be incredibly scary and intimidating, so remember to go easy on them.

2.      Understand The Grading System

Read the highlights of how the grading system works before reacting to your child’s report card.

Chances are, his/her school has a different grading system different from what you’re used to.

That’s why it’s important to fully understand how your child’s school handles it, before commenting on the report.

For example, your child may receive a letter grade based on a numerical point system.

The report card may have letters like “I” for “Improving” or “G” for “Grade Level” indicating progress.

Or, it might be a standards-based report card, meaning that what looks like a bad grade to you may actually not be as bad as it seems.

3.      Talk It Through With Your Child, Don’t Lose Your Temper

So, it is alright to let your child know that you are disappointed and that you perhaps feel they could have done better, but it’s important that you can discuss this calmly with your child and seek their opinion.

The last thing you want to do leave your child humiliated, ashamed, or defeated.

Try to listen to your child’s point of view

They may bring up which you feel are invalid, but listen to them anyway.

It’s possible that your child may have some insight into why they didn’t do well in a particular subject.

It could be something that has to do with the way they feel about the teacher of the subject or something particular that happened on the exam day.

There are a number of reasons that could account for a child battling poor grades. Talk it through. Find the root cause, so you can nip it in the bud.

4.      Plan To Meet And Talk To The Teacher

Generally, it is important to meet regularly with your child’s teacher(s), so you have a glimpse into their teaching styles and personality. This will help you know on time if your child needs some extra help with a subject.

For the purpose of their report cards, especially if what’s on it doesn’t measure up to your expectations, you should work towards setting up a meeting with them.

When you do, make sure you come prepared with your goals and ensure you carry your child along in setting those goals.

It is when you help the teachers understand your child’s goals, that they can help you get there easier and faster.  

5.      Have A Game Plan Moving Forward

Unhappy as you may be that your child’s come home with poor grades in a report card, the more progressive approach is to suck it up and come up with a realistic game plan with your child, to try and improve their grades moving forward.

In place of punishing for poor grades, it is better to try and identify problem areas and work with your child.

Be realistic; a child who is obtaining D and C grades is unlikely to be able to get parallel A’s for the next report card.

Improvement will most likely be gradual but acknowledge and praise that improvement regardless.

The trend is what matters in this situation, not the score.

You can, for example, set goals like achieving a certain skill level, passing the class, achieving a particular grade range, or improving organizational/study skills.

And post you and your child have set goals based on the report card results, start tracking his or her progress over the days, weeks, and months before the next report card.

Have a goal-setting worksheet.

Ask your child questions about his or her progress at regular intervals. Check grades on assignments.

Adjust the plan as grades on assignments come in, and offer plenty of encouragement and praise your child’s progress during these check-ins.


Have You Read: How To Review Your Child’s Report Card [Important Points To Note]


In the same vein, make sure to celebrate their accomplishments, no matter the size. When your child checks something off the goals list, celebrate!

This could mean buying them a new toy or permitting more privileges.

Having a reward when your child hits a goal is a great way to boost motivation and instill goal-setting habits in your child.

Remember children actually do not want to fail; they are likely already embarrassed that theirs wasn’t one of the best results in school.

They’re counting on you to help them get back on track.

You’ve got this!

Find more resources that will help you improve your child’s grades in school here.

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