Is your kid falling behind already?

Sep 19, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. ET

Even though class has just begun, your child could already be falling behind the pack.

He can’t handle his homework

According to Julia Simens, M.A., author, teacher and school counselor, homework is a big indication that your child didn’t grasp the concepts taught in class. If he is constantly asking for your help with his homework, consider this a red flag. Simens says, "Don't [take] the easy way out and help your child with the homework; make sure they know what it is and can strongly attach the problems."

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He forgets

Does your kindergartener have difficulty remembering early learning concepts like letter names or sounds, names of colors or numbers, rhyming, writing his own name or sounding out or blending three letter words such as cat or sip? Does your first grader have difficulty reading his "I Can Read" level books? If so, there may be a problem, says Jill Lauren, MA, learning specialist and author of That's Like Me! and Succeeding with LD.

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He doesn’t like school

Jennifer Little, Ph.D., of Parents Teach Kids, says, "Generally speaking, children who are falling behind in school don't like ?school. They will make comments about being dumb or stupid, how others are? smarter, etc."

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However, she also gives a few specific behaviors of what to watch for:

  • Preschoolers/kindergarteners may be fearful, cry or begin to bully others.
  • Elementary schoolers may become withdrawn, disrupt the classroom or avoid doing homework.
  • Middle schoolers and junior high students may display the aforementioned signs. Since they are also experiencing hormonal changes, you may notice mood swings, continued poor performance in school, defiance toward adults and even sexual activity or substance abuse.
  • High school students may withdraw even more from others or display acting? out or self-destructive behaviors. They may engage in delinquent behavior,? violence, frequent and heavy substance abuse and frequent sexual activity ?with many partners that may result in unwanted pregnancy. Dropping out of ?school is common as early as ninth grade.

Be proactive

If you notice any of the aforementioned warning signs, don’t wait. Talk to your child’s teacher, work with him on homework, re-enforce concepts taught in school and consider a tutor to help your child build confidence about learning.

More on helping your child in school

How learning today’s tech can help your kids in class
?7 Signs your child needs help in school
What type of learner is your child?