|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Responding to Change

Elementary School Expert Advice from Barbara Potts

Q: My seven-year-old son is very bright. He scores very high on tests and receives top grades in school. This past year, though he loves school and his teacher, his motivation has gone out the window. His work is sloppy, he only wants to do the bare minimum, and his reading skills have gone down. What should I do?

A: Has something changed in your son's life? A sudden change in behavior or school work is usually related to something specific that has happened, such as a change in the family (separation or new baby, for example). Has he changed friends? Perhaps he is friendly now with some children who tend to not work as hard as your son and he is copying them.

Talk with the teacher to find out what he or she has noticed. Ask the teacher to help you focus on the positive so that you can help with your son's motivation. The teacher can send you a daily note to let you know how his day was and you can follow up at home. A smiley face for the day can earn extra computer time or an extra bedtime story, and three smiley faces in a week can earn having a friend over to play on the weekend.

You may want also to rule out a physical problem. Sometimes a sudden change in a child can be related to nutrition or an illness, and you may want to talk with your pediatrician to make sure this could not be part of the problem.

Talk with the school counselor. He or she may be able to give your son some individual time or include him in a small group. The counselor may also be able to observe in the classroom to give you an objective opinion on what may be happening with your son.

More on: Expert Advice

Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

3 Fun Thanksgiving Games for Kids
Looking for some great Thanksgiving games to play with your kids? Print our free Pin the Feathers on the Turkey game, Pin the Hat on the Pilgrim game, and Thanksgiving Parade Bingo game for loads of laughs this Turkey Day!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

8 Surprising Sources of Caffeine in Kids' Foods
Even low doses of caffeine can have an effect on your child's health. Since the FDA doesn't require caffeine content on food labels, learn about hidden sources of caffeine in kids' diets.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!