Does your child seem to be losing interest in school or has she been a reluctant school-goer right from the beginning? Also, does she have a list of complaints regarding going to school and does that leave you at a loss as to what could be done? A look at some common complaints of school-going children and how to tackle them would be of help.
1. “School is boring”
The reasons for this could be that -
- Your child finds the morning routine of getting ready for school dull.
- The repetitious nature of the classes in school is stifling.
To redeem the situation you can -
- Pep up his morning routine by playing his favourite music, ensuring that he does most of his preparations the night before, timing and rewarding tasks like bathing, brushing teeth, and so on. Cook him his favourite breakfast to start the day on a cheerful note.
- Speak to his teacher and / or principal about bringing in more interesting classroom activities and teaching methodologies, helping him find greater interest in his books and school work.
- Teach him to exercise his imagination, by making mind maps or memorising lines in the form of a rap song.
2. “School is not child-friendly”
Your child may feel this way because -
- She is yet to make friends at school.
- She is being bullied.
It would help her if you -
- Speak to her about coming out of her shell and initiating conversations, inviting a few friends home to study or for a play date, and cultivating friendships in the neighbourhood while things slowly fall in place at school.
- Take the help of the teacher to protect your child, teach her to stand up for herself and not make light of the circumstances.
3. “School is tough”
The causes for this complaint are usually genuine and your child can feel so because -
- His eyesight or hearing may not be perfect. These are not uncommon issues but usually go undetected because parents don’t doubt that their child may be suffering from them.
- He is unable to present neat work because he is concentrating too much, is in a hurry, unsure of the task’s requirements or his motor skills are still developing.
Some ways to turn the situation around are -
- Take him to a doctor for tests to diagnose and treat any health concerns.
- Check with the teacher to see if the seating arrangement can be changed for a better view of the blackboard.
- Discuss with the teacher how you can, together, help him do his school work in a tidy manner. Appreciate the neat work so that he understands it is something you expect from him.
- Set an example by serving him meals in an aesthetic manner, maintaining the house well, helping him organise his room, ensuring that his clothes, shoes and school-bag are laid out the night before, and so on.
4. “School is work, work and work”
Your child may feel this way either because she is lazy or -
- She has homework on week days and weekends. It doesn’t seem fair to her that she has to study during holidays. Also, it causes her to have less time to spend with her parents and siblings.
A few facts to consider while easing the problem are -
- This may be a good time to help her understand the concept of homework and its role in promoting the spirit of learning and creating a balanced schedule of activities at home.
- Schedule quality family-time with her.
- If you feel that the homework really demands too much time, scheduling a meeting with her teacher will help.
5. “School has too many rules”
If he has just started schooling or is new to a different school system, he might be alarmed that -
- He cannot eat in class whenever he is hungry, is expected to sit still in class or is treated differently from how he is treated at home.
- He has to be careful while handling lab and sports equipment.
You can -
- Raise expectations of him at home by setting well-spaced snack breaks and specific time to study when he is expected to remain in the study area.
- Explain to him how his role as a student in the school is his professional role, similar to your professional role in your workplace. It is very different from his role in the home.
- Give him greater responsibilities at home that involve caring for his toys, bicycle, delicate showpieces and so on. This will boost his confidence.
6. “School has surprise tests”
Surprise tests can throw a wrench in the works if -
- He finds that these shatter his study rhythm.
- He feels that he is ill prepared without recent revision.
The state of affairs can be redressed if you -
- Teach him that since life is quite unpredictable, it would be a good idea to keep his study and revision schedules flexible.
- Set aside time for regular written revisions. This will, especially, help older children to commit things to memory better. It will also help them be better prepared for surprise tests.
7. “School holds parent–teacher meetings”
In addition to the scrutiny she must face, her perceptions may be that -
- Her parents reveal too much information to her teacher.
- Her teacher’s feedback is not what she expects it to be.
You might want to -
- Share the points of discussion with her before meeting her teacher. Also, try not to embarrass her by revealing personal details.
- Openly go over the teacher’s feedback with your child at the meeting itself. This way, there is space for the teacher to retract or add information. Your child too can clarify matters with the help of her teacher and parents.
Your encouragement and support in your child’s education is critical to his effective learning. Involve yourself and meet his teacher frequently. Additionally, apply the information provided by this article and adopt a positive approach in your conversations about school and you will see an eager school-goer soon!
Hannah S Mathew is a freelance teacher, trainer and certified diagnostic counsellor
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