No fun zone: 8 in 10 parents fear their children are bored at school (2023)

No fun zone: 8 in 10 parents fear their children are bored at school (1)

NEW YORK —Children should be having much more fun in school, according to eight in 10 parents.A recent survey of 1,000 parents with school-aged kids (K–12) found that 80 percent say their children either dislike school or are bored at school.

More than half the poll (57%) attributed this sentiment to challenging material that makes their kids feel like they’re falling behind.Another 52 percent say a lack of hands-on projects that foster collaboration and interaction also contribute.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of LEGO Education, the survey shows that hands-on learning is at the forefront of parents’ minds.

Need for STEAM

Seventy-four percent of parents recognize the value of STEAM (short for science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics) for the future, and a whopping 70 percent say their child is interested in exploring a STEAM career. However, three in four parents have also observed their kids getting excited about learning in elementary school, only to lose interest once they hit middle school.

From a parent’s perspective, the biggest roadblocks when moving from one grade to another are staying engaged or focused (52%), dealing with more challenging material (48%), and getting used to new teachers’ expectations (48%).Parents also say their kids sometimes get frustrated when working on challenging homework assignments (73%), with many attributing this to kids not understanding what they’re supposed to do (62%) and feeling too intimidated to ask questions (62%).

Additionally, the survey polled 1,000 teachers to discover how they’re bolstering students’ excitement in the classroom. Nine in 10 (91%) are already bringing hands-on learning into the classroom.

Regardless of the grade they teach, 87 percent noted an improvement in student engagement when incorporating purposeful play, such as hands-on STEAM activities.

No fun zone: 8 in 10 parents fear their children are bored at school (2)

Embracing gaming in school?

One way to make subjects more hands-on is through gamification or incorporating game-style elements into non-game activities. According to teachers, the most important ways to gamify the classroom are by making learning fun (74%), adding progress indicators such as points or badges (49%), and through competition (49%).

Comparatively, parents placed progress indicators (54%) and level progressions with increasing difficulty (52%) as the game-style elements they’d like teachers to incorporate most.The top skills parents hope their kids develop are learning to work under time pressure and deadlines (59%) and social-emotional skills like collaboration, resilience, empathy, and emotional regulation (57%).

“There’s never been a better time to rethink learning to make it more joyful, where classrooms are full of engaged students, ‘aha’ moments, and opportunities to build resilience and life skills,” says Dr. Jenny Nash, Head of Education Impact, U.S. for LEGO Education, in a statement. “This survey shows both teachers and parents want this for their students, and it’s with hands-on learning that we can create these motivating, memorable, and meaningful learning experiences for our students.”

Boosting students’ confidence and curiosity in the classroom can be key. Teachers have found the most effective ways to do so are with hands-on projects (70%) and having students work together with others (70%), along with the opportunity to make mistakes without judgment (63%). The freedom to make mistakes was the top choice among high school teachers (68%).

Eight in 10 (82%) teachers also believe group projects should be introduced much earlier in students’ lives.

“Teachers expressed awareness of the long-term effects STEM and STEAM can have for their students. Nearly eight in 10 (78%) said these concepts help improve collaboration, critical thinking and creativity, and seven in 10 (69%) believe they’ll improve students’ confidence,” Dr. Nash adds.


What percent of kids are bored in school? ›

The ratings scale supported the findings, with students reporting feeling stressed (79.83%) and bored (69.51%) the most. When those feelings are examined with more granularity, said Ivcevic, they reveal something interesting.

How do you overcome boredom at school? ›

Holly's boredom busters
  1. Think of ways to help get the most out of classes.
  2. Ask your teacher for practical examples.
  3. Get support from a trusted adult to help you feel motivated.
  4. Discover ways school could help you develop the things you are really passionate about.
  5. Look forward to things.
  6. Reward yourself.

Why are kids so bored in school? ›

Still, boredom in school isn't primarily about children being boredom-prone. Rather, research indicates that boredom is most likely to occur when an environment is out of sync with one's needs and interests. In fact, “the effect of the situation swamps those individual differences,” Westgate says.

What percentage of children enjoy school? ›

Survey Results

Our survey sampled a total of 3,448 schoolchildren and the results were quite positive. 70% of our respondents said that they do enjoy going to school – although the reasons they gave were different. Only 31% like going to school to learn while 39% enjoy it for the social aspect.

What percent of kids are scared to go to school? ›

In 2019, about 5 percent of students ages 12–18 reported that they had been afraid of attack or harm at school during the school year. A lower percentage of students (3 percent) reported that they had been afraid of attack or harm away from school during the school year.

Is it normal to be bored at school? ›

Boredom is common in the classroom and can have negative impacts on learning. The key drivers of classroom boredom are a lack of control and meaning. When kids lead their own learning, we can keep boredom at bay.

Why do students feel bored? ›

A big reason for student boredom is seeing a lack of connection to or seeing the relevance of their school work. As students progress through grade levels, they may struggle to connect classroom material to their lives and goals. Students then feel that the subject matter is irrelevant.

What are the effects of boredom in school? ›

Academic boredom has been linked with student misconduct (Wasson, 1981), poor academic performance (Daniels et al., 2015; Pekrun et al., 2010), and even dropping out of school (Bridgeland, 2010; Wegner et al., 2008), while boredom outside of education has been associated with numerous psychological problems and ...

Why do kids get bored so quickly? ›

If you're dealing with a child who is constantly bored, then odds are you need to up the activity level. “Sometimes when kids are really bored, it's because they're looking for more challenge,” says Lynn. Make sure their toys are age-appropriate, and that they're getting enough exercise.

Why is school so boring and stressful? ›

In conclusion, there are several reasons why school may be perceived as boring by students. Curriculum that is not engaging or relevant to students' interests, outdated teaching methods, pressure from academic performance, and lack of student autonomy can all contribute to a dull and tedious school experience.

Is it OK for kids to be bored? ›

It might come as a surprise, then, to hear that being bored sometimes is good for kids. Before you sign your child up for a class or hand over your game-loaded cell phone, consider the benefits of boredom. Being present. Boredom can help kids be present and aware of the world around them.

Is school stressful for kids? ›

But for many kids, it can cause stress and anxiety—even children who are usually easy going may experience butterflies and those with some anxiety may get more nervous and clingier than usual. Parents feel the pain, too. Leaving a crying child at school is hard for everyone.

What makes kids enjoy school? ›

For kids to love school it needs to be a place they feel safe, respected and listened to. It also needs to be a place they can develop healthy friendships that enrich their lives.

How many kids don't enjoy school? ›

Every kid occasionally grumbles about school. But five to ten percent of kids dislike it so much they don't want to attend, says Christopher Kearney, director of the Child School Refusal and Anxiety Disorders Clinic at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

How many kids feel lonely at school? ›

Four out of five adolescents report feelings of loneliness at some time, and almost a third describe these feelings as persistent and painful.

What percentage of kids actually do their homework? ›

Year and selected characteristicPercent of students who do homework outside of schoolPercent of students whose parents1 check that homework is done
All students95.685.2
All elementary school students
(kindergarten through grade 8)96.294.6
33 more rows

What percentage of students don't like homework? ›

Stop The Presses : Over 70% of students don't like homework, survey says.

What percent of people get bored? ›

In a sample of nearly 4,000 American adults, 63 percent reported experiencing boredom at least once over the course of 10 days. The problem with boredom is that while it tells us something is wrong, it does not tell us what to do about it. Finding healthy ways through boredom is up to us.

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