18 May 2009 04:39 PM

Dr. Rick Responds: School Enthusiasm - Part 1

by Dr. Rick

I want to thank Kimberly for her help as guest blogger last week while I was in Shanghai, China, at the international conference of AdvancED/CITA, the parent association of accreditors of tens of thousands of schools and learning centers around the world.  I’ll write about my experiences next week.


This week, I’ll respond to the questions Kimberly left for me, thought-provokers on keeping our children interested and excited about school, finding fun ways to improve study habits, and addressing sibling rivalry.


Let’s start with the one about keeping our children interested and excited about school.  Kimberly wrote, “My son doesn’t like to go to school for some reason.  We try and get him excited about all the wonderful things he is learning in school and all the fun things he gets to do, but so far that hasn’t worked for us.  Do you have any suggestions?”


It’s not unusual for kids to go through periods when they’re reluctant to go to school.  This may be a bid for independence. It may be a fear of the unknown, especially for kids going to school for the first time or going to a new school.  Or it may be a sign of something deeper – a learning problem, bullying, a conflict with friends, boredom, or some academic difficulty.  Whatever the case may be, there are some things you can do.


In my blog of 30 September 2008, “But I Don’t Wanna Go To School,” I responded to a parent’s similar concern.  I reminded parents to:

  1. Stay positive,
  2. Inject their own fun into learning,
  3. Encourage their child to have a “study buddy” (regular readers of my blog will recognize this as one of my favorite learning strategies),
  4. Be realistic,
  5. Involve the teacher.

Those are still good suggestions, but I’d add others, too.

  1. Routines are important for all students, and I’d suggest that Kimberly’s family strive for helpful and efficient homework, study, bedtime, play, and meal routines that allow her son the structure necessary for success.  Success builds more success, as well as confidence and pride.  Who doesn’t want more of those?  (Look at my blog of 7 November 2008 for details about routines or my blog of 27 January 2009 for comments about school confidence.)

  2. Children are sensitive to our moods, our prejudices, our values.  That’s why staying positive is so important.  When you talk about school with your child, emphasize the positive as much as possible.  Listen to his concerns, of course, and help him to overcome them, but as quickly as possible get back to the normal “job” of childhood – going to school, learning, making friends, exploring interests, and discovering talents.

  3. If you suspect a deeper issue, don’t hesitate to talk to your child’s teacher or professional school counselor.  It’s always best to tackle a problem early, before it’s taken root.  If it’s an academic problem, get help early.

It hurts to see a child dislike such an important and promising part of his life as school.  Encourage him to talk about what he likes about school – there must be something – and stick with that as a starting point.  As I pointed out in that earlier blog, never give up.





Add comment


  • Comment
  • Preview

Blog Posting Rules

This blog is for the good of education - for students, for teachers and for parents. I very much value a two-way communication with you and welcome and encourage your comments and feedback. However, to facilitate a constructive conversation that is beneficial to everyone in this online community, I expect the same respect in your comments that I present in my blog.

Read the full Dr. Rick Blog Posting Rules.