Lack of Confidence: Some smart children turn into perfectionists. Consequently, they put a lot of pressure on themselves and with this added pressure comes stress and a lowering of their self-confidence. In addition, most children struggle in one area or another in school. If the child is struggling, he/she may start to participate less in class, start articulating that he/she really doesn't care about that subject (defence mechanism), and might not do assignments due to a lack of confidence. This will lead to increased stress and poor grades.
Poor Study Habits: Does your child wait until the last minute? Does your child fail to understand the material but does not ask for help? Poor study habits will lead to poor performance.
Poor Communication: Does your child have difficulty putting his/her thoughts into words or down on paper? Some children who have no difficulties comprehending the material simply cannot articulate their thoughts either verbally or on paper. Therefore, they may have problems with oral tests or written tests and assignments.
Poor Organization: Lack of organization can lead to increased frustration. This, in turn, will increase stress and lower grades.
Poor Time Management: The truth is that, for most, getting good grades will take a lot of time and effort. Poor time management skills will result in lower grades. Children with poor time management leave assignments until the last minute or pay too much attention to smaller assignments (worth less marks), rather than allocating that time to larger projects/assignments.
Distractions: For some children, they simply cannot filter out the noise in the classroom or at home. This will result in important information being missed.
School is Not Challenging: If a child does not feel challenged enough in school, he/she may find their classes boring. This will result in attention issues, leading to poor performance and failing grades.
Test Anxiety: Yes. This is a real thing. For some children, anxiety prevents them from performing well on tests. They know the material inside-out, but the overwhelming stress during a test makes it difficult for them to do well on tests.
Learning Difficulties: Many smart children struggle with some type of learning disability. This will usually reveal itself primarily in either reading, writing or math (although it could include other subject areas). It is important to note that poor grades do not equal a learning disability. However, if your child is continually struggling and there is no improvement, despite extra academic help, then a learning disability should be considered.
External Factors: These include the school environment and your child's social environment. If your child is struggling to build a relationship with his/her teacher, this will result in poorer grades. If you child is struggling to make friends, is being bullied or surrounds him- or herself with the "wrong" children, his/her grades will suffer. Grades begin to suffer because their confidence and individuality become compromised.
You Are Setting a Bad Example: Yes. We as parents do not get off without having to accept responsibility for our children's poor grades in school. Are you interested in what your child is doing at school? Do you know what he/she is doing in all their subjects? Do you place sports or extracurricular activities before academics? Studies have shown that a parent's poor attitude toward school can significantly affect their child's performance in school.
Technology: Is your child using electronic devices excessively? Too much time on the computer or using electronic devices will continue to occupy more and more of your child's time. Eventually, it will completely overshadow their interest in school.
Poor Nutrition: A nutrient deficient diet can cause poor academic performance (in addition to affecting a child's growth and development). A lack of nutrients means a lack of energy required to focus and pay attention. A diet low in vegetables, fruit, protein, and healthy fats can create nutritional deficiencies that can lead to low grades. Lack of vitamins A, B6, B12, C, calcium, iron, folate, and zinc are linked to higher rates of absenteeism, tardiness, and low grades (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention).
Eating Breakfast: The importance of breakfast consumption has been studied for years. Breakfast consumption has been shown to enhance academic performance by improving cognitive function. Skipping breakfast leads to concentration difficulties along with a shorter attention span and memory problems. But what type of breakfast is best? The answer is a breakfast that is lower glycemic. A lower glycemic breakfast (not high in carbs such as sugary cereals, pastries, muffins, et cetera) means there are less fluctuations in your child's blood sugar response which will improve concentration and leads to better academic performance. A research group studied three breakfasts: a) ready-to-eat cereal b) oatmeal and c) no breakfast. There was enhanced cognitive function in the ready-to-eat group and oatmeal group over the no breakfast group, but the oatmeal group also had improved short-term and spatial memory. A breakfast might look like: a) vegetable omelette with a piece of whole-grain bread; b) whole-grain, low-sugar cereal with milk or yogurt; c) oatmeal, sliced apple (skin on because that's where the fibre is), cinnamon, and nuts; d) string cheese, piece of fruit (apple, blueberries), pumpkin seeds. While breakfast is important, your child's other meals are also important, so they should not be skipped either.