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
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
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
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 class work. 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
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.