Select Region
Follow us!

October Check-In: How to Assess Your Kids' Progress in School

Is your child enjoying this school year? It's not too early to assess—and kick some problems to the curb before they become unmanageable.

Young boys reading.

It may seem early, but October is a perfect point in the school year to assess your child's progress. He has had enough time to become accustomed to his schedule, routine, and new classmates; and the teacher has informally assessed kids to determine progress compared to grade-level expectations. Since it can take weeks or months to fix academic or social issues, it is important to assess early and often. In addition, waiting can cause some problems to become more difficult to fix, which could negatively impact your child's self-confidence.

There are three main areas to evaluate at this point in the school year. By asking yourself the following questions-and answering them honestly-you will recognize areas of weakness and be able to address them successfully.



Ο YES    Ο NO   Does your child enjoy school, speak positively about her teacher, and feel good about her successes?

Ο YES    Ο NO   Does your child complete class work successfully most of the time?

Ο YES    Ο NO   Is homework relatively stress-free, not resulting in delays and tantrums (him) or excessive nagging and yelling (you)?

If you answered NO to any of these questions, begin by making an immediate appointment with your child's teacher (don't wait for official parent/teacher conferences). At this meeting, ask pointed questions and share examples of concerning behaviors. Agree on a concrete strategy to work towards a solution. Schedule another meeting to review your child's progress. If necessary, request that the school psychologist or counselor be present at the next meeting.


Social Life

Ο YES    Ο NO   Does your child report feeling content with her social life?

Ο YES    Ο NO   Does she have healthy friendships (respect for each other)?

Ο YES    Ο NO   Does she spend time with friends outside of school?

Ο YES    Ο NO   Are you confident that your child is not being bullied or that he doesn't bully other children? (Bullying can be very difficult to see as an adult. It can physical or verbal; in person, online, or by cell phone.)

If you answered NO to any of these questions, your child needs support to learn strategies that will improve her social life. The right strategies will vary depending upon your child's personality and needs. Even if your child is a bully, she still needs your help, rather than punishment. If she is a target of bullying, you may need to intervene directly. Ask your child about her social life. Also, speak to your child's teacher and to the school counselor. If necessary, seek private counseling to help you and your child.


Daily Routine

Ο YES    Ο NO   Does your child manage his daily routine -- dressing, eating, bathing, activities, bedtime -- with no more than age-appropriate assistance?

Ο YES    Ο NO   Does your child enjoy her extracurricular activities?

Ο YES    Ο NO   Is she able to balance school with additional activities?

If you answered NO to any of these questions, it is time to assess your child's routine and schedule. Perhaps he needs a more or less structured routine. The adults must create the structure and then reinforce it consistently. If you are concerned that your child is lagging behind others in the activities of daily living, consult your pediatrician to determine whether an evaluation is recommended. Maybe your child has too many extracurricular activities, which has caused him to become overwhelmed. You have time before the second semester or next sports season begins to reassess and adjust accordingly.


Dr. Susan Bartell is a nationally recognized child psychologist, speaker, and award-winning author. Her latest book is "The Top 50 Questions Kids Ask." You can learn more about Dr. Bartell at


More Parenting Articles:

Parents Call on MTA to Remove Open-Stroller Ban on NYC Buses

New York City parents are advocating to change the open-stroller ban on NYC buses.

Latest News:

Student Struggling in School: 8 Simple Things You Can Do at Home to Help

Experts share how parents can help if their student is struggling in school, whether it’s in a certain subject or learning in person rather than at ho...

Family Activities:

Traveling Exhibit: Age of the Dinosaurs

Long Island Children's Museum Jan. 22, 2022 - May. 29, 2022

Go back in tine and experience animatronic prehistoric creatures that look, move and make sounds as they did when they roamed the earth. 

Have a Laugh:

Best Memes of the Week for Parents

Here are the funniest parenting memes from Instagram, Facebook, and Reddit this week.
Susan Bartell, Psy.D.


Susan Bartell, Psy.D., is a Long Island-based, nationally recognized child psychologist, speaker, and award-winning author. Dr. Bartell is a media expert, frequently seen on CBS, ABC, FOX, and CNN. She is the author of seven books, including the highly-acclaimed The Top 50 Questions Kids Ask. You can learn more about her at or follow her on Twitter @drsusanbartell.

See More

Featured Listings:

Ivy Day School

Ivy Day School

Established in 2003, Ivy Day School continues to provide a fun and enriching environment to foster the early academic and social development of toddle...

St. Paul School

St. Paul School

Valley Cottage, NY For over 50 years, St. Paul School has been providing a supportive environment designed to stimulate sound judgment, critical thinking, acquisition of...

Garden School

Garden School

Jackson Heights, NY We believe that an exceptional education is a right, not a privilege. We provide an excellent academic choice that offers a realistic option for famil...