For many student athletes, sports are all the motivation they need to keep their grades up. They know that if they don’t have the GPA, they can’t play.
At the same time, sports also consumes study hours. It’s a catch 22 for many athletes. They must keep their grades up, but they don’t have as much time to study.
Whether or not your child is a self-motivator or whether she struggles in or out of season, here are some ways you can help her keep up her grades:
- Stay informed. Many schools offer a way to check grades online. If that’s available at your child’s school, check her grades at least twice a month. Instead of getting a vague, “I’m not sure,” when you ask, “how are your grades?”, you will know the facts.
- Ask for the coach’s support. My husband has made a practice in his 28 years of coaching to keep an eye on his players’ grades, especially those who struggle. If your child struggles, ask his coach to support your efforts by stressing the importance of grades and even taking the time to check your child’s grades himself.
- Help set goals. Whether it’s a set amount of study time each night or grade improvement, work with your child to establish goals.
- Help your child get organized. Buy a daily planner, teach her to write down assignments, have her review homework and place it in backpack when she is finished. Have a homework “lost ‘n found” where stray assignments are placed. Teach her organization. It’s a skill that she will always need.
- Get rid of distractions. Your child may protest that she can do homework and listen to music or watch TV at the same time. The proof of that will be in her report card. If the grades are suffering, get rid of the distractions. Take away whatever is pulling at her attention–tv, ipod, phone–during a designated study time.
- Stay involved with the school. When your children are young, take time to get to know their teachers and coaches, and do whatever you can to stay involved with their school. When they are middle or high school, that becomes harder to do. But you can look for other ways: be sure to attend the back-to-school open house, join the boosters, help at fund-raisers, drive for events. If you really want to stay in touch, you will find a way.
- Ask questions. Don’t just assume that things are going well at school. ASK. “How did you do on yesterday’s test?” “How’s the science project coming?” Your kids may become annoyed, but that’s okay. Bugging our kids is in our parental job description.
Don’t let your athlete slip into “just getting by” mode. An athlete who knows the importance of academics will reap the benefits of it when she’s trying to get into college and during the next four years.