Seven-year-old May is curious, intelligent, and generous. She is full of life and gets along well with her friends. Kindergarten was a breeze, first grade could not have gone better. Then, around the first week of second grade, she started to wake up with a stomachache. “I don’t like school,” she said, “and I don’t want to go anymore.” Then there’s Jake, a seventh grader who often stays up too late playing video games and moves so slowly in the morning he misses the bus. “I don’t like school!” he told his dad. “It’s like going to prison!”
Rafael, and older student, is on the verge of dropping out of high school. “I’m bored, and it feels like a huge waste of time,” he said. “Nothing they teach has anything to do with my life, and besides, I need to start earning money to help my family.” Students in every age group struggle with disliking school. But there are ways to help them, which can make a huge difference for their future. Here are 10 ways to keep students engaged in school.
1. Create opportunities to connect with peers.
There is a lot we can do to equip our children for relationships. Get to know other dads and moms, coach a team, and sponsor class activities. Create opportunities for your kids to be with other kids. When children feel isolated, school is neither nurturing nor safe.
2. Make sleep a priority.
A National Health study in the United Kingdom labeled lack of sleep “a hidden health crisis.” Staying up late with unsupervised screen time affects attendance, concentration, performance, and behavior. Kids who get enough sleep tend to like school more and show an increase in student engagement.