What should I do when my child says he’s bored at school?

Learning should be an exciting part of a young child’s life. Children these ages are striving to be competent and successful in school. Yet, they often say, “I hate school. It’s so boring!” They drag their heels when it’s time to go in the morning, and they come home with nothing to report.

There are many reasons why a child might find school boring. The work may be too easy and presented too slowly, too much time may be spent preparing for standardized testing, or there may be too much paperwork and not enough hands-on experiences: “The teacher does all the science projects and we just get to watch.” A child with an active mind needs a challenge, and a curriculum geared toward a child with average intelligence will not meet the needs of brighter students. Since many school programs are inflexible, teachers often give faster students “busy work”—coloring, additional workbook pages, cleaning chores __while the rest of the class catches up. Naturally, someone in this situation will be frustrated and bored.

A slow learner also may claim to be bored. The work may move too quickly for him to understand or so slowly that he loses all interest. After a few tries, he may give up and daydream. School seems boring, and he may easily view himself as a failure.

Children may feel distracted and disinterested if they’re unhappy with themselves. A child feeling parental pressure to succeed may dislike school and say it’s boring. Likewise, a child experiencing problems at home may be too preoccupied to focus on learning. And, if at any point during the day he’s hungry or tired, he may complain of boredom.

Since “school’s boring” can mean so many things, parents have to find the cause of their child’s complaints. Occasional dissatisfaction is normal, but repeated claims should be taken seriously.

Talk to your child about the problem: “Can you tell me why you’re bored?” Try to assess the situation from his response. Is class work too easy? Too hard? Is something bothering him socially or at home? Does he have school friends? Do children tease him? When you’ve isolated the probable causes of his boredom, ask what changes he’d like to see: “How could your teacher make reading more interesting?” “Would you feel better about going to school if Dad and I were calmer in the mornings?”

If you discover that problems at home are the root of your child’s unhappiness, you can try to remedy the situation yourself or seek professional guidance. Often, a few changes—spending more time with him, easing up on parental pressure—will make it easier for him to concentrate on schoolwork.

If the school curriculum is causing boredom, talk to the teacher. If the material is too difficult, ask how she can accommodate your child’s needs. Perhaps he requires more concrete examples or more time to complete classwork. Ask if the teacher can involve you with teaching certain material at home.

If your child is bored because the work moves too slowly, let the teacher know that busy work is not acceptable. Ask if he can go to the library, use the computer, read a book, write a story, help another student, or go on to the next lesson when he’s done his work early. If you don’t push for such changes, the teacher won’t see the need to stimulate him and he may finish the year with a sense of loss and frustration.

If you’re dissatisfied with the teacher’s response to the problem of boredom, discuss the matter with the principal. Ask for suggestions and seek ways you and the school can work together to have your child’s needs met.

Ultimately, you may not be able to make your child’s school experience less boring. Yet, you still have choices. You can talk to school district officials, you can work with an advocacy group that pushes for improvements in education, you can investigate transferring your child to another public school, or you can enroll him in a private school. The expense of a private school has to be weighed against the dramatic improvement you may see in his educational development.

School boredom is a major problem. Kids spend their formative years in school—precious time that should not be wasted. Parents have the responsibility to monitor their child’s education and do all they can to ensure quality in the classroom.

Picture Credit : Google