Why Your Anxious Child May Think School’s a Drag

school dragBefore they even hit kindergarten, many children are often zealous about starting school. And it’s not just the promise of new Buster Browns that drives them. A curious brain is part of a mammal’s survival programming, Psychology Today points out. We yearn to gather information on everything around us so we know how to interact, make wise choices, stay safe or even stay alive. School appears as a prime location to gather such information, and children head there with glee. 

Learning as a Drag 

As the school years drag on, that glee can eventually turn into boredom or even disdain. For anxious children, school refusal is not uncommon, and it can stem from a variety of causes. One of those contributing causes may be that learning has, quite frankly, become a drag. Why has it become so burdensome? Again, a number of causes may be to blame.

Massive Requirements 

Aptitude tests, graduation requirements and specified curriculum don’t leave a lot of breathing room for learning fueled by curiosity. Instead of exploring topics at their own pace, children are largely forced to learn tons of info at warp speed, with all children stuck at the same pace. This leaves some children bored with concepts they’ve already grasped and others struggling to keep up. It also leaves little time to absorb or appreciate any information, as far too much of it must be covered by the end of the day, month or school year.

Rote Learning Methods

One of the fastest ways to retain information is with rote learning methods, such as endless drills, repetitive homework and memorization through dry repetition. While this may capture information into the short-term memory, it can also result in memorized information that is devoid of meaning. Children can end up spitting back answers as unthinkingly as a computer in which you simply entered a bunch of random data.

Division of Subjects 

As if the copious amounts of information haven’t become meaningless enough, they become even moreso when subjects are divided into neat little categories that rarely intersect. English class focuses on reading literature. History focuses on memorizing important dates. Math class comes with numbers, numbers and more numbers that must be balanced and evened out in numerous equations. Not only does one subject appear to stand alone from all other subjects, but it very often appears to have no meaningful relevance in any child’s life.

Making Learning Fun (Again)

Psychology Today emphasizes context and application as two keys to reigniting the zeal that was lost somewhere between kindergarten and the present. Help your child understand how the school subjects connect to his or her life. How do they relate to your child’s hobbies, past experiences, family history, where you live, the work you do or people you know?

It’s also helpful to show how what your child is learning can be used in daily activities. Like understanding how to share candy with four friends by dividing it into quarters. Or how to parts can blend together to make a whole with a big, cozy hug.


  • http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/radical-teaching/201410/when-children-hate-school-reignite-their-interest

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