When was the last time your kid came home and said, “Mom, guess what, I got a really cool worksheet today!!!”
My guess is it has not happened to date. Frankly, the worksheets that I see (and I see tons of them) can be pretty dreadful stuff. Kids get multiple worksheets over the course of a day, many over a week.
No one enjoys boredom, but for about 50% of the population, they tough it out and tolerate the boredom. For these kids who manage who manage the boredom, you may hear something like this, “Ugh, not another worksheet. I can’t stand doing worksheets, but I have to do it or else the teacher will give it to me for homework and then my parents will be all over me.” These kids meet their boredom squarely and complete the task.
This is not so easy for the ADD/ADHD style kids.
For them, the boredom is almost intolerable and they literally can’t stand it. Inside their head is a different voice. You may hear something like, “No!!!!!!!! Not another worksheet!!! I didn’t finish the other one! Now there’s one more to finish. No way…I’m not doing it!”
Both groups find the worksheets boring and unpleasant, but the ADD style kids are jumping out of their skin. The boredom is overwhelming. When they are punished for it by having to stay in during recess or to take it home and do it for homework, this only compounds their sense2 of frustration and leads to an undercurrent of anger.
Understanding ADD/ADHD as someone who has difficulty coping with boredom is a somewhat different spin on the syndrome, but one that I think makes sense. I know that when I explain it to parents in these terms, the difficulty managing boredom is something they get immediately and see with their child.
Is there an answer to this? It’s never easy and issues are always complex, but if your child is getting too many of these worksheets, it is good to speak up. Try and track how many the child gets over the course of the week. If it is getting out of hand and there are too many of them, by all means raise the concern with the child’s teacher(s). If that isn’t satisfying, you may need to talk about it with the principal.
No one likes boring tasks. Some can tolerate boring tasks better than others. You have to know which type your child is, to try and take an appropriate action.
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