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How do I deal with my child having to repeat a school year?

Antonio Guillem | Shutterstock

Mar Dorrio - published on 08/14/21

It seems stressful in the moment, but your child repeating a grade is not the end of the world.

Every child is a unique individual. So when it comes to how we should approach our children repeating a grade, we need to remember that.

We have to take into account significant details such as whether our child was born in the last months of the year and is thus younger than their peers, to what extent the pandemic and taking remote classes has affected them, and so forth. We’ve hardly been working and studying under ideal conditions.

Growth and maturation: Each child has his or her own pace

The whole educational community—students, parents, and teachers—has to recognize the fact that a one-size-fits-all curriculum doesn’t necessarily adapt to the growth of each child.

If this lack of synchronization between the curriculum and our child’s maturity results in their having to repeat a year of school, it’s not the end of the world. Sooner or later, our child will certainly get to make the most of his or her talents, but there’s no guarantee it will coincide chronologically with the objectives set by the board of education.

Repeating a year of school means lengthening one stretch of the road, and that’s not a problem. Maybe it’s an opportunity in your child’s life to fit into a rhythm where he or she will be more comfortable.

We must also be aware that an apparent delay in progress may appear before a growth spurt in maturity, as we’ve seen can happen with physical growth.

Does one of your children have to repeat a grade next year? Your child will react and process this fact according to your example. We can see it from the perspective that it’s an opportunity to work more comfortably, to start over, instead of thinking that repeating a year implies degrading the child’s self-esteem to a minimum or making them doubt whether they’ll ever be able to succeed.

Facing difficulties

It’s also time to assess whether our children have failed the year as a result of laziness or some other difficulty that we’ve overlooked, such as vision problems or an information processing disorder like dyslexia.

It’s time to reorganize our schedules to be more effective. We shouldn’t react to bad grades by unnecessarily reducing the time our children spend playing sports. Organized sports and physical activity can help them to learn discipline and focus better when it’s time to sit still and study (even if sports seem to take time away from their studies).

Nothing is a greater help to success in studies than having children be accustomed to doing their homework daily and being held accountable for their work. If they manage to learn the satisfaction of fulfilling their duty, they’ll want to continue those good habits for the rest of their lives.

Does anyone in your house have to repeat a grade this year? If so, it can give you the opportunity to rebuild routines and propose new goals, and to understand that, statistics and percentiles aside, children mature at different rhythms, which are not strictly comparable. Repeating a grade can be an opportunity.

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