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Ask the Experts

How Can I Get My Child Excited About School?

Allison Gardenswartz
Allison Gardenswartz

By Allison Gardenswartz, Consulting Educator


My daughter states she hates school and cannot understand why anyone would like to go to school. We have talked to her about how learning is needed to succeed in life, that knowledge is important, and how she is lucky to be able to go to school. She struggles some in school with math, but she received an A, B and C on her last report card. Doing her homework can at times be a struggle, as well. What can we do to get her excited about school? I hate to have her be so negative at such a young age. She has no behavioral issues or learning disabilities. She loves her teacher and has close friends in her class.


I think you need to explore further to determine what she particularly "hates" about school. Go through her school day with her and ask detailed questions about what she likes and dislikes. Try to determine if it is the academic portion and if so, is it because the work is too difficult for her or there are social issues. Try to offer her incentives for work well done and find the parts of the academics that she likes. Does she enjoy drawing, putting events from a book in order or acting out a story? Once you get some more specific information, you can approach the teacher and try to incorporate the parts of learning that your daughter seems to enjoy into more of her day. it using her own power within the system. Teach her this process.

Sometimes it is just the cool thing for children to say they hate school. Try not to be angry at her comment. But try to explore with her further to determine specifically what she hates. Then you can take the next step. it using her own power within the system. Teach her this process.

Finally, involve your daughter in this process. Tell her that you don't want her to dislike school and that you want her to be happy there. Ask her to suggest what would make her school day better so that she feels she has some control of her destiny and that together you are trying to solve this problem. It is a great life lesson for her to learn that when something is not to her satisfaction, her first course of action is to try to improve upon it using her own power within the system. Teach her this process.

Allison Gardenswartz is the founder of a San Diego tutoring center specializing in gifted and remedial learning and test preparation studies. An educator for over 15 years, Allison is an expert in identifying and enhancing the learning abilities of school-age children. Allison now fully devotes her time to parent education, consulting and college counseling. Allison has a teaching credential and has taught for several years in various public school systems. She has three children: Jacob, 11, Sofia, 7, and newly adopted Ryan, who is 3.

Advice from our experts is not a substitute for professional diagnosis or treatment from a health-care provider or learning expert familiar with your unique situation. We recommend consulting a qualified professional if you have concerns about your child's condition.

Comments from readers

"I have tried your above suggestions, nothing works or changes her opinion. My child gets okay grades and I feel she could do better, she has only said the work is hard in her math class recently, but all of her life she has not liked school. Not one thing about it excites or interests her. She has friends and enjoys getting to see them but only at lunch time. She is finding middle school even less desirable than elementary school. She likes most of her teachers to some degree but only one has really peaked her interest for a time at that was in 5th grade. I am sad that she isn't getting as much out of school as she could and that this could really effect her future. I am at a loss.."