Handling Sticky School Situations

Your Kid is Bored with School

Q: Last year, my 7-year-old loved school. This year, she says it's boring. Her teacher says she's doing fine. How should I respond?

A: When young children say they're bored, parents need to play detective, peppering their kids with questions to draw them out. What happened today that made her bored? What exactly didn't she like about school yesterday? "Bored is one of those catch-all complaints that children use," says the NEA's Bob Chase. "It can mean a child feels under-challenged, or it can mean she's in over her head. It also can mean she has a bad rapport with the teacher or isn't getting along with a friend." Parents always need to take their children's complaints seriously, but sometimes that means reading between the lines. "It's like when you ask your child what she did at school that day and she says, "Nothing," McEwan says. "Nothing doesn't really mean nothing." So ask her lots of questions, and listen carefully to her answers. Once you figure out what's really bothering your child, you'll be able to brainstorm with her teacher about how to handle it.

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