Encouraging Responsibility: Report Card Time

Yesterday was a big day in our house. My 9 year old daughter and 10 year old son brought home their report cards. I guess it was a good sign that they were eager to share them with my husband and I.

I like to use report card time as a way to enforce a few of the values that we cherish in our home.

This what I tell my kids:

  •  Report cards are private. Only the parents and the child involved get to see them. No one has to share the information on their report cards with anyone else.
  •  “Respects teachers and others” is the most important subject for us. That is the grade we look at the most. (Our schools report card gives grades for that.)

What I like to point out:

  •  Grades that have improved from the last quarter, “Oh, look you went from a B minus to a B plus. You showed improvement in that subject.”
  • Grades that have stayed the same, “You kept a steady B plus in math.”
What if their grades have gotten worse?  I try to remain positive and encourage them to take responsibility:
  • “Looks like you might be having some trouble in language arts. Is that the case?”
  • “Is there anything I can do to help?”
  • “Do you have some ideas on what you can do?”
To teach them to evaluate their own performance instead of relying on other’s opinion, I say:
  • “Are you pleased with this report card?”
  • “Is there any area in which you would like to improve?”
  • “Are there any concerns that you have?”
I also try to focus on the effort they put into their school work instead of the end result:
“This report card reflects hard work and a good attitude towards school.”
If their teacher has written something positive I try to reinforce a good relationship with their teachers:
“I think Ms. M enjoys having you in her class. I think she likes to teach you.”
Report card time does not have to be stressful. It can be a time to celebrate your child’s achievements. It can also be a time to assess your child’s strengths and weaknesses and get them the help they need if they are struggling with school.

Adina Soclof

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  1. Some fabulous practical examples of positive language. Thanks heaps!!

  2. We’re about to start report card season here so I ended up using this in our Smart Reads this week. Thanks for the great content!

    • Adina Soclof says:

      That is great! So glad my article helps those of you living down under…