Six Reasons Why Your Child Won't Study

If your child won't study, don't rush to assume it's due to a lack of interest or absent-mindedness. Sometimes, underneath the lack of motivation, there can be undetected elements that may require professional intervention.
Six Reasons Why Your Child Won't Study
Pedro González Núñez

Written and verified by the child educator Pedro González Núñez.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Why won’t my child study? This is a question that many parents ask themselves: are they lazy? Do they have the ability to concentrate? Could they try harder but just get distracted easily? All these questions cross the minds of many parents. Many of us think that our children, when they don’t study as much as we think they should, lack motivation and prefer to do other more playful activities. Today, we’ll look at six possible reasons why your child won’t study.

Have you ever stopped to think that the problem could go beyond the fact that your child prefers to play or doesn’t enjoy studying? Why isn’t your child motivated? Although everyone develops at their own pace, sometimes there are issues that are more serious than we imagine.

My child won’t study

Although sometimes, it’s possible that a child has too many distractions and these make it easier for them to lose concentration and real focus, educational psychologist Borja Quicios warns that there are multiple other reasons that could cause the real problem to go unnoticed.

A child who's struggling to study.

Although it’s very important to motivate children, it’s also important to observe them. By doing so, you may find some hidden problem that’s really causing your child to fall behind in their studies.

Therefore, Quicios and other specialists provide a list of conditions and problems that could be the origin of the child’s lack of motivation and inability to study at the same level as their peers.

Six reasons your child won’t study

  • Learning difficulties: these aren’t as uncommon as many think. A child may suffer from some issues, such as inability to retain information, color blindness, dyslalia, or dyslexia.
  • Developmental issues: sometimes, developmental problems are present that prevent kids from coping with certain academic subjects.
  • Low self-esteem: this is one of the most difficult problems to detect. When you don’t understand why your child won’t study, it may be because they feel inferior to others and don’t have the right tools to know that this isn’t true. However, lack of interest in class is one of the ways in which low self-esteem presents itself.
  • Family problems: problems within the family affect children a lot. Separation, jealousy between siblings, or illness are just a few examples.
  • Bullying: this is a problem that can lead to very serious issues in the short, medium, and long term. If your child suffers from bullying at school, the situation will produce sadness, fear, apathy, and developmental difficulties.
  • Insufficient motivation: this is the most common problem. Children are sometimes over-stimulated and don’t find sufficient motivation in learning and studying. They see it as something boring and unnecessary.

How to motivate children when they won’t study

Having said that, remember, if you’re asking yourself why your child won’t study, the first thing to do is to check that it’s not because of a health problem or, in some way, a factor that’s external to their abilities, as we’ve observed so far.

A child who's fallen asleep while studying.

If you observe that your child’s circumstances are perfectly normal, then it’s time to motivate them to find an incentive in their studies to encourage them to improve. How? Here are some tips:
  • Rewards: it’s not a question of giving them a toy every time they pass a test. Rather, you can exchange material items with emotional ones. That’s to say, more positive reinforcement and less punishment. But don’t overdo it; this is an important point.
  • Involvement: it’s important for parents to get involved in their children’s affairs. It’s not about doing their work for them, but rather showing interest and giving support.
  • Expectations: let’s not dump our expectations on our children or force them to reach goals that are difficult to achieve. Let them follow their own pace according to their real capacities.
  • Abolish boredom: the best thing to do is to encourage your child’s curiosity and boost their imagination and development.
  • Encourage their social environment: it’s important for children to enjoy an adequate and motivating social environment among family, friends, hobbies, leisure time, and sports. In this way, they release stress.
  • Help and advice: don’t go overboard with positive reinforcement and don’t force learning. Also, don’t do your child’s work for them.

So, why won’t my child study?

If you’re still wondering why your child won’t study, consider these reasons and get to work on solving the issue as soon as possible. That way, you’ll all enjoy a healthier, more balanced, and motivating environment.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.