3 things to say when your child worries about getting help at school

When kids get extra help at school, they may worry that they’ll be teased about it or get made fun of. How can you help your child cope with these feelings? What can you say to help your child feel OK? Here are three ideas.

1. “I understand why you’re worried. Kids can be mean sometimes.”

Your first instinct might be to say that other kids won’t notice or care about the extra help. But that’s not reality.

Kids notice things. Some kids are mean. And mean kids tend to bully or tease people who are different. Saying you understand the situation can make your child feel heard and genuinely supported.

2. “Many other kids have something they need help with, too.”

Kids often think they’re the only ones with challenges. That can make them feel alone. Knowing that other kids have a hard time with things can make your child feel less alone and vulnerable.

Explain that if kids tease, it may be because they’re struggling with their own challenges. Role-play with your child to come up with things to say when kids tease.

3. “Kids may not understand why you get extra help. Maybe you can explain.”

Being able to speak up and explain their challenges builds self-esteem and lets kids feel some control over the situation. It may also cut off teasing before it has a chance to start.

Talk openly at home about what your child struggles with and how extra support will help. And point out your child’s strengths, so it’s not only about their challenges.

More ways to help your child

Kids can feel frustrated and even angry when they struggle in school. Do “growth mindset” activities together to show your child that extra help will make a difference. Explain why it’s important for kids to speak up for themselves, or to be a self-advocate.

Talk about the difference between teasing and bullying, too. If you’re worried that your child (or someone else) is being bullied at school, here’s what to do next.


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