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How do I motivate my 3rd grader in school?

Posted by on Jan. 16, 2013 at 4:50 PM
  • 9 Replies

I have a son who is in the 3rd grade. He does not enjoy doing the classwork & just sits there & does minimal work. it frustrates me & the teacher & we're trying to work together & my son to get him moving. We did switch him from the class he was in to a different teacher due to some circumstances with the afternoon teacher (whole other post!:) )  Anyways, the old school admins (have new ones this year) & the past teachers he's had kept pushing us to get him tested for ADHD...so we finally did & he is barely ADHD. We've been trying to tell them it's all his attitude & he's bored. So today, I get a call from the school counselor (whom I do NOT like!) & she's telling me that she had his class in to do an activity with ink pads & finger prints. He doesn't do it & acts silly instead (her words). I'm thinking he obviously isn't interested in a mundane activity! She tells me that she thinks that it's his attitude & behavior choices that is making him be the way he is. Ummmmm...isn't that what we (my husband & I) have been trying to tell them for the past THREE years??? Dumb lady....So she pulls up his report card & reads off his grades to me....he is failing all core subjucts, all because he doesn't want to do the classwork! How do we as a team (parents & teacher) get him interested & understand the importance of doing his classwork?? We talk to him alot about it (spanking obviously isn't an option just because what will spanking him prove??) He knows he needs to get the work done but just refuses to do it. We as parents are getting frustrated!

If anyone has been through this, what did you do? Any help is appreciated!

by on Jan. 16, 2013 at 4:50 PM
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Replies (1-9):
frndlyfn
by Gold Member on Jan. 16, 2013 at 5:11 PM

What is your usual discipline for when he does not cooperate in needed task or breaks a rule?  For our 1st grader we take away a privilege for that day. Would stickers motivate him or a movie night on friday for a week of doing classwork in school?

steelcrazy
by Emerald Member on Jan. 16, 2013 at 6:19 PM

Is he aware that he will be doing third grade again next year if he fails this year?  Maybe that realization will be motivation enough for him to actually do the work.  Not to mention that there is no way to prove that you actually know if information if you don't do the work and show them that you can do it.

I'm also interested in what form of discipline that you use for his lack of cooperation.

Bunnee
by on Jan. 16, 2013 at 7:19 PM

If he doesn't do the classwork in class, the teacher sends it home & he has that included in with his usual homework. I make it a point to let him know that since he didn't finish the classwork, he now has extra homeowrk to do. He won't get to play outside with his friends if he has extra work brought home. He doesn't watch TV or play video games at all during the week (as our rule) & is only allowed TV & gaming on Fridays & Saturdays. If he has a particularily bad week, we will take away the TV & gaming privelages & no BMX racing on Fridays (which kills him! He LOVES the sport!!!) but right now the track is closed due to overhauling & redoing it. So there isn't much I can take away from him during the week.

Bunnee
by on Jan. 16, 2013 at 7:21 PM

I forgot to add, on the sticker thing, he does enjoy the stickers, but we're not very consistant with them because we forget about them sometimes.

Bunnee
by on Jan. 16, 2013 at 7:22 PM

Again...he is aware of the failing thing, but I don't know if he really cares...even though he doesn't want to repeat the grade. It's all in his attitude....

steelcrazy
by Emerald Member on Jan. 16, 2013 at 10:27 PM

Honestly, if he doesn't care then maybe natural consequences are the way to go.  Basically if he doesn't care and doesn't do anything to get his work done, then he has to repeat third grade next year.  Every now and again letting our children fail helps them more than anything else that we could do.

frndlyfn
by Gold Member on Jan. 16, 2013 at 10:34 PM

I wonder if adding 'i will do my classwork" 25 times added on to the at home work would make a difference.  Dd is in 1st grade and was having classwork sent home almost daily at beginning of year.  Now we rarely get any classwork for homework unless she was with one of her specialists during that lesson.

aetrom
by Gold Member on Jan. 17, 2013 at 12:01 AM
I have no solution but an encouragement. A friend of mine dealt with this with one of her sons and it was so frustrating. Now? He is going into university and wanting to and doing very well. So there is hope...
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sol4J
by on Jan. 22, 2013 at 6:49 PM


I'm glad you've found this forum and reached out for help. It is amazing comfort just to know you are not alone and that others are facing similar struggles. I've raised 4 boys and I recall dealing with parenting issues like yours.  Kids have different personalities, interests and abilities. I know that it is hard to find a balance between teaching them how to act appropriately and letting them grow in the unique people they are. My advice to you is, not to give up hope.  Spend a few minutes with him daily to do homework and academic studies and believe it or not success is sweet after that.  If you haven't read Cynthia's Tobias book, "Every Child Can Succeed; Making the Most of Your Child's Learning Style."  Or, "Bringing up Boys" by Dr. Dobson; I would encourage getting a copy of it..  Both explain why kids are the way they are, how to understand their emotional and physical development, and how to motivate them so they can become great kids.  In the meantime, you might want to check out some information  here: (Excitement about Learning) -- this talks about how to equip kids for a lifelong learning. I hope that everything goes well for you and your family. 


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