The new school year is well underway. Your student is in the swing of things, everything’s fine with all the new teachers and new classes. Or do they just say “Fine” when you ask how things are at school? If they’re being elusive when you want to talk about school that may be a sign that they need some help.

Students can get frustrated when faced with new challenges. There may be certain subjects they just can’t grasp and it can be tough for them to admit they need help. Give them a chance to tell you by asking open-ended questions like “I know you were studying for that test today, how did you do?” Creating a safe space for them to answer honestly will give them the opportunity to open up and let you know what’s really going on.

And if they just shrug and say “OK”? Well, you can take that cue and reply with a compassionate open-ended question like “That sounds like you think you didn’t do so well, what can we do so next time you’re better prepared?”. This can help them talk about what they think they need to do to improve, and it’s an opportunity for you both to come up with ways on how they can do it. Encourage them to be curious and make a list of possibilities, like devising a way to study without distractions and setting up a study schedule with goals for each session. Then you can brainstorm about how to put them into place.

One way could be to make study time a part of your home life. Establish, and stick to, a specific block of device free study time so your student knows that is when they are responsible for completing assignments and studying for tests. This schedule goes for everyone in the household, a time to be respected as quiet time when they keep their activity noise at a minimum so they don’t distract your student from their work.

Another is sitting down with your student at the start of study time to review the day’s assignments and help them determine how much time needs to be allotted for each task. And while they’re studying, stick your head in every once and a while to see how they’re doing, ask if they have any questions or if they need help with anything. This lets them know you’re available and that you’re paying attention to what they are, or maybe are not doing.

It’s important to keep the lines of communication open with your student so you can keep up with their progress and assess if additional support is needed. If they continue to struggle discuss getting them additional help, maybe with a coach or tutor or by joining a study group. Emphasize that there is no shame in asking for help, that it shows they want to do well in school. Tell them you’re proud of the effort they’re making and support them in making good choices. When they feel comfortable sharing with you what they need, you’ll be in a much better position to help them succeed.

The Recovery Coach NY team of Academic Coaches work with families whose students are struggling to focus in and out of the classroom. They communicate with the entire support team – parents, guardians, therapists, teachers, tutors – to develop a plan to address executive function challenges such as time management, scholastic planning and prioritizing, and assignment organization and review. For more information on how we can help you, someone you know or someone you work with support the student in their life, contact Cindy directly via phone or text at 631-921-4085 or you can email her here.


In addition to Academic & Executive Function Coaching, The Recovery Coach NY provides Recovery Coaching, Mental Health Support & Coaching, Executive Function & Accountability Coaching, Sobriety & Mental Health Companionship, Safe Transport, Case Management, Psychedelic Integration Coaching, Intervention and Emergency Services. For more information on all of our services, please visit our website.

We honor all paths to recovery with years of experience and a vast array of resources that can help those in need find their way to the life they deserve, filled with joy and purpose. We come with an empathetic ear and solution-oriented actions that can begin to bring the relief you and your loved one seek.


Follow Cindy on Instagram: