Once, while teaching science to a group of third graders, I looked out upon the sea of young faces and noticed Kenny had something–a lot of something–running from his nose. Upon closer inspection, I discovered Kenny had filled his nose with Elmer’s Glue, and was letting it slowly drip onto his science book. When I asked Kenny why he did this, he replied, “I was bored”.
Students often need to be taught how to stay focused and be in the moment. Students who listen with intent to learn will most certainly hear something they did not know. However, what action follows the achievement of listening? Many students keep a favorite book at their desk and read as soon as they have completed the assignment. Some students draw, although this isn’t permitted in all classrooms.
Unfortunately, there are those children who get into trouble either by playing with the items in their desk or bothering those around them. When asked, these students will often state they were bored. While this does not excuse the behavior, it may explain it.
Bored students need to learn how to make effective choices. As a parent, this is where you should step in. What can you do? Letting your child know their options and how to prioritize them is a start in helping your child to get the most out of their day.
Questions for your child:
- What do you do when you have completed your work?
- What are you allowed to do? What are you not allowed to do, but wish you could?
- Is your completed work, your best work?
- Would you like to speak with your teacher about managing boredom? If so, what kind of outcome are you hoping for?
- What do you see other students do when they are done with their work?
- When your teacher is teaching something new to the class and it is something you already know what could you do? (ideas: listen for new information or raise your hand and contribute a new fact.)
At this point, let your child help make a list of options generated from your discussion. Parents can help give the child ideas based on what they have seen them do at home that they could also do at school, such as reading a favorite book or writing in their journal. Your child should now be able to select an appropriate course of action which is more to their educational advantage than simply being bored.
Reward your child for memorizing their list of options, this is so they don’t have to work hard to remember their choices. Kids typically pick the easiest thing to do, so you want your child to have new default options of choices that are more appropriate. The child does not get credit with you unless they can say they actually chose to do something from the list. Revisit the list and follow up on how the options are working for your child, and reward them with praise or a little screen time for making good choices. Let the child update the list as needed.
If your child continues to complain of boredom, certainly it is a good idea to talk with the teacher so you understand your child’s alternatives and are aware of what challenges the teacher is offering. Hopefully with your child’s improved attitude regarding acceptable activities, and the teacher’s involvement, you will soon hear more positive comments about school.
See Also: Solving Parent Teacher Issues
Bored Child at School