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How to help kids who won’t willingly go to school

4 min read

Monday comes around, and your child is refusing to go to school. Your kid used to love going to school, but this has now become a daily battle. So you engage your child because you know school is a must and there shouldn’t be any reason, other than illness, to skip school. The result is a power struggle that may only intensify the negativity with which your child is viewing going to school. If this is a daily occurrence in your household, here are some ways to help your kids love going to school:

Find out what is bothering them about school

According to Sara Bean, M.Ed., children who refuse to go to school may be experiencing many issues. It’s possible that they are being bullied, having trouble meeting their academic requirements, or having problems responding to authority and rules. They can also be having other types of anxieties which may or may not be related to school. When trying to find the root cause of your child’s issue with school, you should use open-ended questions. For example, you could ask:

Who is bothering you at school?

Which subject are you having the toughest time with?

How are you feeling in Ms. X’s class?

These types of questions will probably help your child open up to you and get the conversation going.

Respond appropriately and find a long-term solution

When your child opens up about what’s bothering them about going to school, don’t take the response lightly by trying to find a quick solution to it. Some parents may resort to bribing them for the day or week, or promising them it’ll get better soon but not doing much about it. Based on Sara Bean’s four possible categories your child may have fallen into, they may need extra tutoring to meet their academic shortcomings, counseling, a talk with the teacher or principal, changing classes or school, and so on.

Example, routine, dialogue, involvement

Once a long-term solution to the particular issue(s) your child expressed are appropriately addressed, you can establish healthy practices going forward to keep your child motivated. Begin by becoming a motivating example to your child. According to parenting expert Brenda Nixon, “a parent’s attitude is contagious.” So if you wake up in a bad mood, remember that your attitude influences your children’s attitudes. Based on Nixon’s advice, be positive in the mornings and leave enough time to get them to school with ease. Make their mornings as calm as they can be.

For this to happen, you could set up daily routines for your child. You could both do a fun routine chart, so your child knows what to expect every school day. A routine will ensure your child has a regular bed and wake up time, a set snack, homework, dinner, and free time, for example.

Ensure there is daily dialogue with your child. A great place to ask about how everything is going at school may be at the dinner table. You can also have this talk at bedtime. This can be a way for your child to open up with you about school. By having an open dialogue, you can hopefully catch issues before they become a morning power struggle again.

Finally, Care.com suggests getting your child involved in either sports, music, or another activity that takes place at school, after classes. Not only will your child make new friends, but it will also give them a positive outlook on school. They will have something to look forward to after school. Do be careful that you are not over-scheduling your children, though, as they still need time to do homework and rest.

If your child is chronically refusing to go to school, there may be a deeper issue at hand. The solutions may be ongoing until your child graduates from school. Don’t just quickly dismiss your child’s plea. Instead, get to the bottom of it and find a workable long-term solution. Your children may love going to school for the rest of their school life if you can do so!

About Susan Cumberland

Susan Cumberland is the owner of School Is Easy Tutoring Franchise system (founded in 2002). She has her B.Ed. and M.A.Ed. in Educational Leadership. Winner of several awards including Better Business Bureau People’s Pick and Marketplace Excellence.

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