Kids Who Hate School

Parent Q&A

  • 6 year old hates kindergarten

    (20 replies)

    Our child is a kindergartner at a well rated OUSD elementary school. 

    It is an exhausting battle to get her to go to school almost every morning. She says school is boring, she doesn’t have friends, etc. she tries to fake illness sometimes and lobbies really hard to be tardy. As a result, we were tardy 40 days in a semester. On some days, we literally strong arm her to put her in the car.

    The teacher says she is doing well at school. She is one of the older kids in class and is mature. Her academics are at grade level. She has had a bit of trouble finding good friends in class because most kids are so much younger than she is and there was a mean girl. We are working with the school about the bully. When we pick her up, we often see her happily playing with friends. The teacher has also moved her seating arrangement so she can sit with kids that are at a similar maturity level.

    I wonder if the school work is too easy or the school is too much crowd control and not much on fostering the love of learning.

    we both work full time, so we have to send her to after school and have a babysitter pick her up at 6 pm until we can get back home from SF by 7 pm. 

    8:30-6 is a heck of a long day for 6 year olds... we get it but many other kids are on the same schedule and our friends don’t report that their kids protest school as much as our kid.

    We make just enough not to qualify for any financial aid so private school is not possible for us. 

    We moved here for the neighborhood school.

    We don’t know what to do. Kid needs to go to school and after school so that we can work.we need both incomes to make a living in Oakland and job change is not possible.(We took out a 401k loan to buy a house so we are locked into our jobs.)

    When we hear other people saying their kid loves school, we are puzzled. How do we get our kid to like school? 

    I think she needs more downtime at home. My kids liked/loved their OUSD elementary school, but no way, no how did they want to do after care, even with their friends, because they wanted and needed downtime at home, even if they couldn't articulate it very well. We were able to have a babysitter pick them up and bring them home. Some kids do fine with a long day at school and some do not. If she were at school for 6 hours instead of nearly 10 I think she would protest a lot less. My 5th grader's only complaint about school is that she has to wake up early. Otherwise she loves it, but still, no way, no how does she want to be in after care.

    My son was similar at that age. Several times the principal called me to pick him up from school, as he would crawl under the classroom table and refuse to come out. Most of his issues stemmed from anxiety and the chaos created by the lack of control that the teacher had over the class. What worked for us was taking him out of the after-care program which was also very chaotic. As you said, 8:30-6 is a very long day for a 6-year-old, or even for an adult! Can you arrange to have a sitter pick her up right after school and watch her at home? If she has more downtime, she might make it through the school day more easily. Also, if her resistance stems from boredom, perhaps the teacher can give her different work/activities that are of high interest to her? It may also help her to have one close friend, although I do notice at that age that friendships seem to come and go quickly and few have truly close friendships. But if there isn't anyone in her class who she bonds with, maybe there is an opportunity during recess for her to meet kids from the other K classes? At my son's school, one of the K teachers started a social skills club where certain kids (such as my son) who had challenges in making friends all came together once per week. Another option is a buddy bench where children who don't have anything to do or anyone to play with at recess can sit on the bench and be joined by others who are seeking friendships. 

    You might want to get your child tested to see if she's gifted. The work just might be too easy and maybe she is just incredibly bored. UC Berkeley Dept of Psy offers reduced fee IQ testing (and for different issues)

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Feb 1999

I'm looking for advice re: my 7 1/2 yr old son and his school experience. He's in 1st grade, and has begun saying do I have to go to school? His teacher says that he daydreams and doesn't engage in discussions. He says the days are too long, and he doesn't have enough play time. He can read very well (started reading in Jan. of last year - reads chapter books to himself nightly, etc), and is fascinated by history, geography, astronomy, etc... He is in a class of 34, so I looked into a smaller school, with smaller class size...I just don't want to go through a big school change (we have another child at his school who is doing fine) if it is unnecessary. We chose this school for specific reasons, and it is hard to imagine pulling him if really its just that he wants to play all day - any school is going to have a set 8-3ish day, after all. Anyone with experience with a bright, happy, child who failed to thrive at school? I'd love any comments, suggestions, etc... Thanks.

from: Kay (3/99)

My biggest fear has been having my son be bored or not want to go to school. I spent my youth not liking school because of the method of instruction (rote memorization) and I didn't want Sterling to experience that mind numbing method. I also spent a lot of time day dreaming in school so I can empathize with your son. My 8 yr old son is in 3rd grade at Berkwood Hedge here in Berkeley. It's a private school and classes are 20 kids in size. The teacher also has an assistant so it lowers the teacher/child ratio even more. They teach similar to the Montessori methos--the class learns about a particular subject but they learn from all the disciplines (math, writing, reading, speaking, etc.) This year they have studied whales and heroes. Sterling wrote a paper on Ghandi. It wasn't a huge paper, only about a paragraph but he researched it himself and then wrote it. I was so proud of him. Boy, I would have loved to have gone to such a school as a kid--learning whole topics instead of having subjects to learn sterile facts about. Maybe your son is bright and finds school boring so needs more of a challenge--or a different style of teaching.

From: Suz (3/99)

It might be worth ruling out a mild hearing loss. A lot of kids with mild- moderate hearing losses go undiagnosed, and it can definitely affect school performance.


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