Parent Report Card Preparation Tips | Rice Psychology Group in Tampa
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Parent Report Card Preparation Tips

school kidsFind out how you can support your child and not freak out when it’s time to read their report cards.

If you are a parent, four times a year, pretty much without fail, the envelope arrives in the mail for you.

As a child in New York, my parent’s got theirs in a thin, white envelope with green edges and a black dot-matrix print.  You would fold the end and pull at the tab for the big reveal.

Butterflies would ravage my stomach as my mother pulled that tab.

For some families, report card time is as ominous as another winter or summer storm.  So what is the “right” reaction if your child’s grades are much lower than expected or much lower than you believe he or she can achieve? Do you want to inspire them to do better? Or do you yell, maybe punish or do you offer Incentives for next time? What is the right thing for you to do?


Resist the impulse to ground you child forever or to take away every piece of technology and pleasure from their lives. The result of that strategy CAN be improved grades but just as often just leads to an extremely angry and sullen child who is now furious at his parents as well as himself and his teachers.  Showing concern is good.  Avoid yelling, screaming and threatening.

2. Be Aware

Your child may be feeling very disappointed in him or herself.  He or she may need you to be a cheerleader and coach to help them figure out how to improve.  When you come down very hard on your child, sometimes you further take away his or her own discomfort about the bad grades and motivation for improving.

3. Move Forward

You cannot change what has happened. All you can do is try to figure out what went wrong and what went right. Then try to come up with a plan for going forward into the next marking period.   Find something that your child did well during the past marking period and build from there.

4. Identify the Gap

Together, in a collaborative way, try to figure out what happened. You may need to go online to the school’s website to examine the quarter or semester in detail. Break down the marking period by examining the following:


  • Did it get completed?
  • Did it get handed in?
  • Did it even get written down in the planner in the first place?

Tests and Quizzes:

  • Were they in the planner in advance?
  • Did you prepare for them?  How?
  • Do you understand the material being taught in class?
  • Is it a matter of not preparing or not understanding?

What else was going on in the child’s life?

  • Socially?
  • Illness?
  • Family?
  • Extracurricular activities?
  • Other distractions?
  • Relationships with teachers?

5. Ask an Adult

Touch base with your child’s teachers.  Let them know that you are invested and concerned.  Communication between parents and teachers can be an invaluable tool for getting and keeping kids on the right track.  Don’t forget to show your appreciation to the teacher for their help, sometimes a little gift card for coffee can go a long way towards letting them know you appreciate them helping your child.

6. Get Extra Help

If the problem is organization, your child may need help in that department.  Try to find a tutor or coach who can teach your child the why’s and how’s of organization step by step.

If the problem is mastering the material, learning or committing the information to memory, consider hiring a tutor.  Look for someone who has a good reputation, knows the material and would be a good personality match for your child.  Also, watch our Debunking Memory video below (include link to video here).

7. Set a Reward

Consider incentives for kids who really need that extra motivation to put in the required effort.  Sometimes the promise of a small pot of gold at the end of a hard trek through school can make a big difference.

8. Become an Avid Encourager

Believe in your children and get them the help and support they need. You are their greatest asset! Zig Ziglar once said “Encouragement is the missing ingredient in most people’s lives.”  You can be the biggest encourager your child has.



About Rice Psychology

Rice Psychology Group is home to a team of psychologists who work tirelessly to help adults, adolescents and children deal with their issues. Whether you’re currently dealing with depression, going through a divorce or fighting an issue you just can’t understand, know that our Tampa psychologists are here to help.

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