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6 Signs That Your Child Is Struggling With Their Studies

Updated: Jan 19, 2022

All children struggle with their studies, but few confide with their parents about their troubles. Perhaps they are ashamed for not meeting expectations and fear getting into trouble, or maybe they simply don’t want their parents to worry about them.

Regardless, it is hard for parents to lend their support when children keep their hardships to themselves. Many parents are surprised when their children return with red-marked report cards because there was no mention of them having issues with their studies.

Fortunately, we've gathered plenty of tips to help parents catch their child’s non-verbal distress cues to address each student’s academic needs ASAP.

  • Consistent Low grades

A poor grade for one paper in the entire academic year is not a major red flag. It can be attributed to a challenging examination paper full of tricky questions or a series of careless mistakes. Consistent low grades show a lack of understanding of the subject.

Do not wait for your child to ‘snap out of it’ after a good scolding. Get a tutor to supplement what is taught in classes and cover all your bases or reach out to your child’s teacher to talk through solutions.

  • Refusing to talk about what they learnt in school

If your child seems reluctant to share about school, there is a chance that they have bad experiences with their fellow students, teachers, or their studies in general.

Parents need patience and tact to coax their children to open up and share their true feelings. If you cannot get your child to talk about it, it may be a good idea to contact your child’s teacher or school counsellor regarding their reluctance to speak about school.

Note: It is a good strategy, in general, to subtly prompt your child to share about school and what they’ve learnt at the end of the day. After all, well-documented research 1 shows incredible results when parents are closely involved with their children’s schooling!

  • Lack of motivation and boredom

This is an issue because studying a subject you have no interest in makes the learning process more tedious and stressful for the child.

When students are uninterested but forced to learn something, they will not truly ‘learn’ as it is not at the forefront of their minds. Also, when the child doesn’t understand content from a subject they consider ‘boring’, they may be discouraged and simply give up instead of finding an alternative solution to the problem.

Hiring a passionate tutor who can execute many teaching styles according to the child’s needs will work very well if parents cannot find an immediate solution for their child’s behaviour.

  • Difficulty Sleeping or Eating

Sleep deprivation and loss of appetite can be caused by stress and lack of routine.

Reliable, medically-reviewed sources 2 emphasise how it’s essential to set up good nighttime sleep habits to prevent and counteract sleep deficit. For example, don’t let your child access electronic gadgets at least an hour before bed and no foods with sugar or caffeine after dinner.

Finding a solution for stress-induced loss of appetite, on the other hand, is much more complex. Parents will need to communicate more with their children to identify the root cause(s) for that stress and support what their child is going through. Sometimes, they may reject your attempts to help, but that is fine too; they may just want you to lend a listening ear to their frustrations.

Note: If your child has no issues at school and is not stressed, but still suffers from loss of appetite, please consult a family physician immediately.

  • Taking too long to complete work

Homework is practising material made to reinforce learning already addressed in class. If simple exercise papers take 3 hours to complete, you should be concerned because your child is likely struggling with the content taught by teachers.

This is, of course, not applicable if your child just prefers to take their time for all homework assignments.

Parents might want to do occasional ‘spot checks’ in the form of providing snacks, offering support or asking questions. This way, you will check in on them without coming off as a ‘busybody’. You never know; your child might be struggling with procrastination instead of their studies.

Note: Experts have found that helping with homework brings about positive attitudes about learning, refreshes class materials and encourages children to take their studies more seriously.

  • Their teacher expresses concern

If you are given feedback about your child’s poor performance or if the teacher writes something negative in the report card, push down any initial feelings of denial and disbelief you may have. You do not know what happens in classrooms. The teacher guides the class, so they should better understand how their child performs compared to other kids.

Each child is unique and has an ideal learning style. When a class of 20 to 30 students are given the same learning materials supervised by a single teacher, there are bound to be students who excel and others that lag. Understand that your child just needs supplementary lessons or tuition to cater to a special learning style that best suits them.

Education doesn’t start and end at school. A home is a place for learning, too, so parents are just as important as teachers in that regard. Whether you are funding your child’s tuition, providing support and encouragement, or assisting them with their homework, every little bit has a part to play when it comes to securing your child’s future.

Remember to act once you suspect that your child is struggling with their studies. Do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s subject teacher or contact us for tuition enquiries. We care for your child’s success and have the resources to help them succeed.

It is never too late to invest in your child’s future.


1 Henderson, A. T., & Mapp, K. L. (2002). A new wave of evidence: The impact of school, family, and community connections on student achievement. Austin, TX: Southwest Educational Development Laboratory.

Jordan, C.F., Orozco, E., & Averett, A. (2002). Emerging Issues in School, Family, & Community Connections. Annual Synthesis 2001.

2 “Is Your Child Getting Enough Sleep?”

Medically reviewed by Vanessa Nzeh, MD, on February 01, 2021,

3 Bempechat, J. (2019). The Case for (Quality) Homework: Why it improves learning, and how parents can help. Education Next, 19(1), 36-43.

Kathleen V. et al., (2001) Parental Involvement in Homework, Educational Psychologist, 36:3, 195-209, DOI: 10.1207/S15326985EP3603_5

Written by Sheryl, Edited by Xinyi

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