Handling School Complaints From Your Child

With school back in session, there’s a good chance that you have heard various complaints from your child. We’ve outlined some of the common school complaints from children and ways you can handle them below.

“Waking up early stinks. I’m so tired.”

Evaluate your child’s bedtime routine to make sure he or she is getting enough hours of rest each night. Turning off electronic media devices before bed also helps improve sleep. While tiredness comes from not sleeping well, it can also be from not eating well, so make sure your child has a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. If your child has an established bedtime and a healthy diet and still has trouble getting enough sleep, talk with your pediatrician for help.

“School is boring. Why do I have to go?”

It can be difficult for children to see the big picture, so explain to your son or daughter that having an education will greatly help them later on in life. Without school, people would not know how to read, write and learn skills that are necessary in everyday tasks. If your child is bored in school, encourage him or her to get involved in hobbies and extracurricular activities. If certain classes are too easy for them, think of small ways to challenge your child.

“Homework is the worst!”

While homework is usually not fun, tell your child that it is an important part of learning material. Try to get to the root of the complaint. Is it because your child is struggling with the material or is it because homework time is conflicting with other activities? If your child is struggling with the material, help him or her complete the work and get outside help from a tutor if needed. If homework time is getting in the way of other activities, take a look at his or her current homework routine to see if it needs to happen at a different time to make the activities work, or if both can be juggled successfully.

“Can I be homeschooled instead?”

Your child may be asking this because he or she has heard from other kids that homeschooling consists of shorter days with less work. Explain to your child that homeschool still requires children to work hard to learn required material, and that days are shorter simply because homeschooled children don’t have lunch, recess or a commute to and from school. It’s also much easier to make and see friends while at school instead of at home.

“I don’t like my teacher.”

If your child mentions that they don’t like the teacher, ask him or her to explain why. If it’s because of too many assignments, explain to your child that the teacher cares about their education, and assignments are given to help them learn as much as they can so they can be successful throughout school and life. If your child doesn’t like the teacher’s personality, explain that not every teacher is the same – some may have a warm and welcoming personality, while others are solely focused on the material they are teaching. If the complaint is more serious, such as disrespectful or inconsiderate behavior toward your child, bring it to the attention of the school by asking the teacher for his or her point of view or talk to an administrator.

“Other kids are mean.”

Ask your child how other kids are acting toward him or her to see if the behavior is alarming or if it’s just that your child or the other kids need better social skills. If the behavior your child is describing mimics bullying or other forms of abuse, alert the school principal so the issue can be taken care of immediately.

If your child’s complaints about school get worse or if he or she is having behavioral issues, talk to your UPMC Children's Community Pediatrics pediatrician. Our behavioral health services can help.