How to Handle a Bad Report Card

Melissa Kossler Dutton

Many Central Ohio schools recently wrapped up a grading period and sent report cards home. It’s great to celebrate good grades and successes, but what should you do if the news wasn’t what you expected?

Start by praising students for what they did well, according to the experts at Stanford Children’s Health, a San Francisco pediatric and obstetrics hospital affiliated with Stanford University. Next, take a moment to assure your child that a bad grade does not mean that he is a failure or not smart.

It’s also a good idea to read teacher comments and look at all of the areas in which your child was evaluated, suggest the school psychologists at Valentin & Blackstock Psychology, whose website includes an advice blog for parents. Information in the comments may contain clues about bigger-picture issues your son or daughter is facing, according this article.

Suggest to your child that the two of you draft a plan to do better in school, the Stanford experts recommend. The plan could include some rewards. It also might be a good idea to meet with your child’s teacher to get his or her observations about how your child could improve. Find more tips at

For more information on the topic, check out advice from the Child Development Institute.