What to Do When Your Children Are ‘Bored’ at School
Some people will scoff at that headline.
“Of course they’re going to say they’re bored in school,” they’ll argue. “Who isn’t bored at least sometimes in school?”
It may be easy to brush aside your child’s complaints that “school is boring” as a flip pat answer. No student will be enthusiastic about every lesson, after all.
Your child’s boredom may be an indication of a larger issue, however.
Some children may use “boring” as a safer way to signify that they do not enjoy school. This could possibly be due to social anxieties or challenges or even potentially serious situations like bullying or other inappropriate conduct.
If your child is repeatedly telling you that he or she is bored, a one-on-one chat at the ice cream shop or a quiet talk at home may enlighten you to the root cause of the “boredom.”
Claims of being bored may also indicate the child is struggling academically. Even some adults might call something boring when actually they don’t understand it.
Especially at the elementary level, it’s important for parents to be attuned to a child’s level of understanding of what is being taught in school. You’ll likely pick up on any discrepancies before a busy teacher will.
Falling behind in fundamental concepts like mathematical logic, reading comprehension, and writing skills can lead to greater challenges down the road.
To determine if this is where the boredom is stemming from, pay special attention to your children’s comfort with homework, and the graded assignments and tests they bring home.
Additionally, simply talk to your children about what they’re learning. Ask them to explain specifics to you as if you’re curious to know. You’ll soon see whether they are comprehending with ease or things are just not clicking.
If you do find that your child is struggling, be sure to discuss your concerns with his or her teacher. In addition, though, take it upon yourself to help your child at home.
For young children, reading and writing struggles can be answered by getting super-excited as a family about books. Fill your home with loads of book. Read together. Read individually. Listen to audiobooks. Visit libraries.
When it comes to challenges with math, incorporate playing with and discussing numbers and measurements throughout the day. Play math games together as a family. Utilize online resources such as Khan Academy.
Older children struggling in more specific or advanced subject matter can be helped immensely by incorporating additional resources that show the concepts in an interesting light—documentaries, books, websites, museums, local experts, you name it. Don’t solely rely on the school if it’s not making sense for them.
Of course, another reason your child may cry “bored” is because he or she is not being challenged. For children at this end of the spectrum, where the pace of each lesson feels excruciatingly slow and the work tedious and uninspiring, “bored” is what they are.
For a teacher with 20 or so students, all vying for attention, in a system that continues to focus on standardized tests and reporting and paperwork, perhaps the easiest pupils to overlook are those with excellent grades who are doing “fine.”
For such students, what is to become of their drive and inspiration? What a sad waste of everyone’s time to not allow these children to realize their potential.
If your child is truly bored, discuss it with the teacher. Maybe there are different ways the child can engage with the lessons—perhaps with more creative assignments or going deeper into the subject matter.
At home, it is important to allow this child to chase his or her curiosities, thoroughly explore favorite topics, create things, and simply revel in a natural love of learning.
As a parent, you can provide the resources to allow your child to thrive. Tap into homeschooling communities in your area or online for a wealth of knowledge and inspiration.
If your pupil continues to coast through school, disengaged and uninspired, you may want to look into alternative methods of education. The options today are endless.
While “boring” may seem like a familiar and harmless descriptor when it comes to school, dive a little deeper the next time you hear it from your child.