My 3.5-year-old recently started school. He never shows willingness to learn anything from me, never colours with me or does tracing or learns poems. I just take down everything needed and sit with him for coloring. I play competition so that he works but it doesn't. I don't know if I'm making a wrong start but he never shows initiative.

Recently, he had a home task to identify how boats sail. We did it practical first, then I drew him a boat and asked him if he wanted to color. He says yes and started coloring. Two minutes later he gets distracted and starts talking lame, like mama your nail paint is looking good and such irrelevant talks... I feel so bad. I don't understand what's really going on.

I don't want to be harsh with him or force him to do unnecessary things. The matter is only of assignments. I don't want him to lag behind. I can't change the whole school system or scheme for him, I only can make him adopt to the situation. He is my only child, so it's tough to make him feel competing or to follow anyone's footsteps.

What should I do, as in the near future he will be given some home assignments?

  • 1
    Can you describe how he is unwilling to color with you? What do you try to do?
    – Joe
    Oct 13, 2015 at 14:46
  • At first I draw him some cartoon character.and hold his hand n color.. now we have lots of coloring books n he knows how to color but whenever I try he either say he is sleepy or tired or wanna watch tv he just want to skip in every way... ..
    – Zayynab
    Oct 13, 2015 at 15:18
  • 2
    I wonder if 'making' him do it is the best wording/mentality. On another note, in my experience getting my children to learn from me when I want them to is rarely successful.
    – Adam Heeg
    Oct 13, 2015 at 17:50
  • 1
    your child is 3.5 year old. Why is it important for him to color at home? At this age, 2 min and then being distracted does not fall outside the norm. Why do you need to make a kid this age do anything, other than maybe basic chores (clean up own toys, put dirty dishes in sink, similar). At this age, kids are NOT going to 'sit down and do homework', they are playing. And they should be playing. I understand you want to limit screentime, but he should have plenty of activities to do.
    – Ida
    Oct 15, 2015 at 18:29
  • 1
    In addition, 3.5 years old is young to draw things other than scribbles. Some kids do, but not all. He might draw circles with dots to represent people, but I would not really expect a 3.5 year old to draw any sort of recognizable things. Again, WHY is it important that he does this?
    – Ida
    Oct 15, 2015 at 18:31

2 Answers 2


Kids who have some sense of reason will always have a desire to exert some control over some area of their life. Especially at this age, they don't realize they want it or are doing it, but they have a drive, however small, toward some independence and control.

In many kids this manifests itself in diet. They will refuse to eat certain things and mysteriously eat the same thing a day later, happily. My second child did this as a toddler, and it drove us nuts (I'm happy to report he's a fine young man today, 16 years old, and eats everything in sight).

The bottom line is you may have to pick your battles. This may be an area where your child wants to exert his control, and you may have to ask yourself if the battle worth taking away what little individuality he feels he has.

Frankly, I think between the ages of 0 and 5, you need to give kids a lot of slack. Strongly guide their language, their behavior, their health and safety, but for the little things where you want them to see life more like you do, you do them and yourself a favor by easing up. You may be surprised at what fine people they grow into. My father always told me that what kids need most is to be loved, and with sufficient love they will survive countless parental mistakes.

Also, you didn't mention this, but avoid the temptation to compare one child to another. His older sibling did XYZ at this age... throw all of that out of the window and understand that each child will find his own way in life given love and the right guidance.


Home assignments have to be done whether your son is willing or not. You just have to have a firm hand when it comes to this. Make it clear that is is school work and non negotiable. At the same time you can try and make it as enjoyable and interesting as possible-(with games,youtube videos, practical projects, excursions related to the topic) so that he develops a gradual liking to it and starts coming to you for help on his own. Set aside time to do these assignments and once completed follow it up with a reward afterward like icecream and a movie perhaps.

  • 3
    For a 3.5 yo? And I particularly dislike the "bribery" aspect with sweets and a movie.
    – Stephie
    Oct 15, 2015 at 7:41
  • 1
    Down voted for because this answer is inappropriate given the childs age.
    – Ida
    Oct 15, 2015 at 18:24
  • It is not meant to be a bribe. Its meant to be something to look forward to after completing an assignment. No three year old likes to be forced to do school work. It is something that has to be incorporated into their daily routine in a manner that they enjoy it.
    – nette
    Oct 16, 2015 at 9:02

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