5 Signs Your Kid’s School Isn’t A Good Fit: Pandemic Edition
*This is an updated version of 5 Signs Your Kid’s School Isn’t A Good Fit, originally published in August 2018.
As we continue to navigate education in the wake of a pandemic, many parents are assessing whether their child is thriving in their current school setting. For some families, the mix of asynchronous, hybrid, or full in-person learning has illuminated issues that were hidden prior to the pandemic. During the pandemic, parents were closer to their child’s day-to-day education, sharing Wi-Fi signals and perhaps a workspace. As you assess whether your child’s current school is a good fit, ask yourself these questions: Have I observed my child being held back, finishing their work ahead of their peers, or being bored? Have I observed my child struggling and not having enough time to understand a topic during their normal school day? Did my child thrive when they were engaging in virtual school, but regressed with in-person learning? Did a return to homework trigger anxiety (for my child or my family) after so long without?
Our original key questions about good fit still stand: Does your child seem happy at school? Do they have friends? Do they enjoy learning? Are they going to school without complaint?
Here are five signs your child’s school isn’t a good fit:
- School avoidance: Does your child not want to go to school? Do they struggle to get to school on time? School avoidance is a good indicator that something is not right at school. It could be academic, social or both.
- Unhappy: Does your child come home unhappy? Many parents report that their child is able to hold it together at school but when they come home, they fall apart. This is a signal that they feel anxious or stressed and are using a lot of energy trying to keep it together at school. Other children complain about school…a lot…the teachers, the workload, their peers…or all three.
- Somatic symptoms: Does your child miss significant amounts of school because of somatic complaints? Occasional sickness is normal, but if your child regularly complains of stomach aches or headaches, underlying anxiety may be a factor.
- Is your child struggling socially? If your child is not making friends and/or is being bullied, this is a sign that their social environment does not feel nurturing or inclusive.
- Changes in performance: Have your child’s grades dropped? Do they seem bored or disengaged when in school? Do they appear to have made little progress or growth? Do they report that their workload is overwhelming…or underwhelming? Do they struggle to stay organized, keep track of assignments and keep up? These may be symptoms that they aren’t getting enough academic support or aren’t being challenged enough.
If your child is struggling, their school may not be the right fit.
Your child’s school should match with their learning style and temperament.
- Some students love big environments, lots of stimulation and variety. Other students perform better in smaller settings with less transitions and more flexible scheduling.
- Some students are comfortable with the pacing in a typical classroom while others need personalized rigor that offers deeper enrichment for areas of strength.
- Auditory learners who can follow directions well, are organized and outgoing can typically do well in most educational settings. However, if your child needs movement throughout the day, struggles with transitions, needs organizational support or is an experiential or visual learner, they may need a different school environment…one that addresses their needs, gives them choices and offers them more flexibility.
If your child appears to be surviving but not thriving at their current school, it may be time for a change.
Our children spend too much time in school to have it be an aversive experience. One size does not fit all. There are many schools where some students thrive and others struggle. If you need help figuring out if your child’s school is the right fit, drop us a note or sign up for one of our information sessions.