What to Do When Your Child Doesn't Like Learning


If your child doesn't love (or even like) to learn, don't worry. This blog post covers a number of options for what you can do if you find yourself in this position.

Learning Can (But Doesn't Have to Be) a Pain

As parents, we have many hopes and wishes for our children. We want them to be happy, healthy, independent… and we hope that they'll succeed both personally and professionally. However you define success, it's undeniable that the ability to learn new things is part of it. After all, you can't grow as a person or develop skills without learning.

But not all children take to learning like a duck to water. So what do you do when your child doesn't enjoy learning?

A child who doesn

Follow Their Interests

The role of learning in children's lives can often be quite rigid. They go to school, where they're given specific assignments and required to interact with certain subjects and topics.

If this isn't working for your child, try expanding your approach by considering all of the things in your child's life that he or she is interested in. For example, is your kid fascinated by the planets, stars, and space? Or, is he or she drawn to animals and nature? Does your child like to listen to stories?

Whatever your child's natural proclivities and interests, there's room to learn about those topics. Focusing your child's learning on subjects that he or she is already interested in is sure to make the process a more enjoyable and natural one.

Encourage Curiosity

Speaking of natural… children are naturally curious creatures. They want to know about and understand the world around them. Harnessing this natural curiosity can help to gently nudge your child toward an appreciation of learning. For instance, ask your ''inquiring mind'' lots of open-ended questions about his or her experiences and observations.

Or, instead of always answering your child's questions, allow him or her to wonder about the topic independently. If, for example, your kid asks you why the sky is blue, answer with a question of your own, like ''What do you think?'' And, most importantly, don't let yourself become irritated or impatient with the natural childhood tendency to ask ''why?'' This is the first step in the learning process, and it should be encouraged.

A parent helping her child learn

De-Emphasize School

School isn't the be-all and end-all of learning. Of course, it can be disappointing if your child isn't doing well in school; however, the truth is that different children are suited to different learning environments and not everybody thrives under traditional schooling.

If your child is frustrated because he or she is having difficulty following along in class or is experiencing test anxiety, avoid taking an angry or punishing approach. Instead, emphasize that struggling in school is not a sign of your child's value or intelligence. If your child doesn't get the message, he or she might be experiencing issues with self-esteem and confidence that might turn off the inclination to learn for good.

Learn Together

Another way you can help your child learn is to make it something you do together, or even a part of your family culture. Read interesting books before bed, play educational games, and watch documentaries on subjects that your child is curious about. Go to museums, aquariums, and zoos. If you show enthusiasm toward learning new things, you can lead your child by example to also feel excited about learning new material.

A woman and her child learning at a museum

Keep It Positive

It's easy to promote a learning perspective that emphasizes what one doesn't know, and what one still has to work on. Instead, try taking a positive approach. Focus on your child's strengths rather than weaknesses. If your kid struggles with math but shows a proclivity toward language and writing, encourage him or her to lean into these natural abilities. This can help to promote real progress and encourage your child to develop a sense of self-confidence and self-belief that will, hopefully, find its way into other realms of knowledge.

Consider Seeking Professional Help

There is one final point that is worth thinking about: While it is completely normal to experience a natural distaste toward school and learning, some children struggle with actual learning disabilities that make things more difficult for them. If you're finding your child's challenges to be quite significant, don't be afraid to speak about them to a trusted friend or doctor. Things like attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and dyslexia are common and manageable. Then you can get back to the real goal: helping your child thrive in school.

If you're looking for an engaging homework help resource for your child, check out Study.com's content library of over 70,000 lessons in every subject.

By Daisy Rogozinsky
January 2019
k-12 parent tips

Never miss an update