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Practical Steps to Help Kids Who Get Bored at School

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Child looking bored while sitting at her desk in school

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Does your child always complain about being bored at school

This can be disheartening for you, and frustrating for them. When your child is bored in class, behavior issues can follow. Slipping grades, lack of interest and participation, and disruptive behavior are just a few ways boredom can manifest. 

But with the right learning environment and interventions, your child can succeed in the classroom. And even better, keep a passion for learning!

Top 5 reasons why some students find school boring

There are many different reasons why your child may find school to be a bore. Here are a few of the most common reasons kids find school boring.

1. Lack of challenge

If you have a gifted child, or one who tends to learn topics more quickly than their peers, it makes sense for them to feel bored. The education system is not designed to challenge the brightest of the bunch

Every child needs time to learn and understand the material. But this can leave gifted students with little to do while the class catches up.

2. Lack of motivation

If your child only loves studying math, every other subject during the day can feel long — it’s not how they would choose to spend their time!

There may be other things kids prefer to do. Or maybe they feel as if none of it is important enough. Either way, there might be a lack of motivation to learn and little reason to be excited for the school day.

3. Learning difficulties

If your child has trouble focusing or reading due to a learning difficulty (such as ADHD), it’s hard to sit still and engage. 

Your child may feel bored because they can’t engage with the material. The teacher is lecturing, but it’s not connecting — so they daydream or fidget, creating a difficult cycle to break. 

Every child has different needs. It's understandable (albeit frustrating) when a teacher of 30 students can't meet them all. 

4. Emotional stress

If a lot is going on at home, or there are social distractions at school, this can lead to a lack of focus. For your child, there are sometimes more important things that need their attention. This can lead to a lack of interest and motivation to perform well at school.

5. Lack of understanding

If your child is struggling in a certain subject, it may feel easier for them to just shut down. 

Often, certain school subjects (like math) seem too hard for kids, or just cause frustration. They can’t keep up, can’t focus and their needs are not being met. So they tune out, leaving them feeling disconnected and bored. 

Child looking bored while her mother helps her with homework

How to tell if your child is bored during school (common signs)

Sometimes trying to ask your child questions about school can feel like speaking to a wall. 

How was school today? “Fine.”

Did you learn anything new? “Not really.”

How did your test go? “It was okay.”

In cases like these, it can be tough to know what to do next. How do you keep up with your child’s school life if you can barely get more than a shoulder shrug from them?

If you’re unsure of whether or not your child is bored in class, here are a few things to look out for.

Your child doesn’t want to go to school

The excitement of the new school year has worn off, and they are constantly complaining that they don’t want to go. 

Or maybe they seem to be having a lot more stomach aches and headaches in the morning. If school has lost its fun, they may be feeling disengaged and bored.

Your child’s grades are slipping

Their test scores show they understand the material, but their grades are still slipping. 

Many times, bored students see little reason to put much effort into their assignments. They may already fully understand the material. Or just feel little interest in doing more than needed to pass the test. 

Your child says they’re bored

If your child is telling you they’re bored at school, listen to them and try to dig deeper. 

Which parts are boring? What do they dread the most? Do they understand everything being covered? What would help them feel less bored? Uncover some answers and discuss them with their teachers. Sometimes your child just needs to be heard.

Your child isn’t paying attention in class

You’ve been getting more and more notes from the teacher. Your child is goofing off in class. Your child is talking and distracting other students. Your child never participates anymore. 

In this case, try conversation over confrontation and look for a solution together. 

Your child has no motivation to do schoolwork

If your child’s mood towards school has diminished, it could be a sign of boredom. They don’t want to talk about school, they don’t want to think about school, they don’t want to do schoolwork. 

If they’re still interested in other activities but school is a drain, it’s time to find out why.

Bored child playing with a toy on the couch to avoid doing schoolwork

How to help bored students succeed

1. Communicate and ask questions

Try to approach your child positively and without judgment, showing a genuine interest in their answers. 

Ask more than just yes or no questions, then listen closely. How does school make them feel? Which classes are the hardest to sit through? What are the best and worst parts of their day? 

When they answer, reply with understanding. Try to avoid a “you just have to do it” attitude. Once you know their biggest problems during the school day, look for solutions together. 

2. Encourage your child to set achievable goals

If it’s hard for your child to read a whole chapter in their history book, don’t force it. When something’s not interesting, it’s too easy to lose focus. And once their focus is lost, so is the opportunity to learn. 

Instead, set realistic goals together to help them complete their assignments. Choose the methods that work best for their learning style

Read for 10 minutes, then take an outdoor break. Work through two boring math problems, then go back to their favorite show. Or help them minimize classroom disruptions and suggest a comic book to keep them busy after completing the school day’s assignments.

These small goals can help your child extend their focus and minimize struggle. Instead of taking away the things they love, find ways for these interests to help keep them on track.

3. Set up a meeting with your child's teachers

Before boredom turns into a bigger problem, reach out to your child’s educators for help. What has their teacher noticed? How can they help your child in the classroom? 

You’ve talked it out with your child and have some ideas of how to help. Goals are set and they are ready to tackle them. Now’s a great time to set up a meeting with your child’s teachers. Talk with them about their concerns and share your child’s struggles

Let them know the solutions you’ve come up with and ask for their help in implementing them. They may also have some great ideas to share. Work together and watch your child thrive.

4. Celebrate every success and every victory

Did your child complete the math assignment they've been putting off? Time for a dance party! Did they finish the history chapter they’ve been slowly working on all week? Break out the popcorn and ice cream! 

These actions show they are learning to keep at it, even when there are so many other things they’d rather be doing. Or that even when they feel lost, they are working towards understanding. 

It’s hard work and it deserves to be celebrated. Recognize both their big and small moments of success and watch their confidence and motivation soar.

5. Explore outdoor activities (outside of school)

School involves a lot of sitting and listening. Feeling stuck inside at a desk is hard for many students. And it can be difficult to focus when you know the whole world is just outside that window. 

At the end of a long day, encourage your child to spend some time in nature to reset. They can run and climb in the backyard, meet up with friends at the neighborhood playground or take a family walk. Get out and connect with the world. Give them time to explore and wander. There’s so much more to life than school and work. Enjoy it together!

Child and adult playing a game outside to get a break from school and avoid boredom

6. Get actively involved in your child's workload

If your child is slacking on their homework, take an active interest in their workload. Connect with the teacher and ask to be kept up to date on upcoming assignments. Then help your child plan their evening, week and month to reduce stress.

If a big paper is due in two weeks, break it down into small steps. Help your child stay focused, but also leave them plenty of free time. Is their homework leaving little time for anything else? Try to find a way to free up some of their day while keeping time for the things they love. 

7. Learn more about modern education

Do you know what your child's day looks like? Have you looked over what they'll be learning throughout the year? It can be a lot. 

Kids are often being pushed to learn more in less time. But there are also more educational resources available now than ever before

Struggling kids can get the extra help they need with in-school programs or outside tutoring and therapy. And thanks to huge leaps in education technology, struggling and gifted kids can both work at a pace that best suits their needs. 

You’ll find plenty of online learning resources designed to keep your child learning and engaged. And once learning is fun again, school can be too!

8. Try out game-based learning

Game-based learning is an excellent way to combat boredom. Not only is it more fun than worksheets and lectures, but it also allows kids to work at their own level. 

There are all kinds of game-based learning resources covering a variety of subjects. Find trivia-style games, coding games, online role-playing games and more! 

If you’re looking to help your child achieve their math goals, check out Prodigy Math Game. With Prodigy, students can uncover a fantasy world while practicing math that matches their skill level. They’ll be challenged and entertained. And you won’t have to battle over homework time. Win and win!

Happy child sitting with his father, playing Prodigy Math Game on a tablet to tackle boredom while learning

Plus, your parent account lets you track your child’s learning progress and use helpful tools to support their learning.

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What else can help bored students?

Everyone gets bored sometimes. There are plenty of times during the course of a day that you may wish to be somewhere else too. It’s normal to not always feel motivated or amped to work.

Bring your empathy and understanding to these conversations with your child. As a parent, you may carry around a lot of worries — you just want to see your child succeed. But if you take the time to understand their struggles and feel their pressures, you can connect and work through these problems together.

Build a love of learning together, and there’s no limit to what they can achieve. Happy Learning!