Top 5 Tips When Your Child Doesn’t Want To Go To School!
If you’re like most parents, you probably take the responsibility of getting your kids to school very seriously and get angry and frustrated when they refuse to go. This can easily turn into a power struggle if you feel this is a “battle” you have to “win”. It’s all too easy to react to your own anxiety and emotions about the situation rather than acting in a well-planned, effective way that will get you (and your child) where they want to be. We have listed top 5 tips when your child doesn’t want to go to school for you!
1. Make school a better place to be
Your child may be concerned about a specific problem, from the bus to a bully, but can’t quite express or understand what he wants to avoid. If he says he doesn’t want to go to school because of a tummy ache, try to help him connect the dots by saying, “You know, sometimes my tummy hurts when I’m worried about being late. But if I think about how to be on time, my tummy usually stops hurting. What are you worried about?” You might find out a kid is being mean to him in class or he’s afraid he’ll get taken like he saw on the news. If he isn’t able to verbalize what’s wrong, ask his teacher. Once you find the real problem, talk to his teacher (or school counselor), especially if the issue is bullying, about solutions. Often, a bit of extra attention from his teacher perhaps coming in early to read and talk with her can help a lot. It may also help to keep a picture of your family in your child’s backpack.
2. Reduce the fun factor at home
Sometimes children want to skip school simply because home is a better place to be. The solution is to make staying home from school boring! When your child complains about a headache in the morning, determine whether she’s actually sick. If there’s no fever, vomiting, or other signs, try to get her to go to school. You can say, “Let’s just try. I can always come pick you up later,” since getting her out the door is half the battle. On days when she does stay home, of course you should take care of her, but don’t give her any screen time or treats. Once she knows that a sick day isn’t a play day, she’ll likely be eager to return to class.
3. Work on solutions at home and at school
Think of the people who work at your child’s school as your teammates. While they often bring a different perspective to the table, most of them have the same goal, they care about your child and they want to help your child learn and grow, academically and personally. It takes commitment from the staff as well as commitment from you in order to help your child through a challenging time just because the problem is taking place at school does not mean that you get to sit back and let the teachers handle it. And most of you are thinking, “Well yeah! We know that!” But there are some parents that don’t think that way. So talk to the teachers and work as a team to come up with a plan for home and school. When you are feeling lost about what to do, teachers often have great, effective ideas that you can try don’t be afraid to ask for some guidance. Teachers might also refer you to the school counselor for additional support and ideas.
4. Get to the heart of the issue
Sometimes it is actually a child’s lack of problem solving skills that are the root of the issue. For example, your child might be falling behind in class, but doesn’t know how to approach her teacher and ask for help. Spend some time talking with your child to really dig deep into the problem. Ask open ended questions because these usually start with “what,” “when,” or “how.” You might ask, “When do you have the toughest time in school?” or “What goes on for you when the teacher assigns something that seems really difficult?” You might also get input from the teacher and support staff at your child’s school as well they often see things you don’t see, and report things your child won’t report to you.
5. Be empowered
If you’re seeing some seriously defiant behavior and your child does not respond to these strategies after a week or two, then it’s definitely time to reach out for some support locate a therapist or counselor who can help you get your child’s defiance under control. It might take some time before you see the defiant behavior change but that is normal. Just don’t stress too much about it because this could make the behavior even worse. Just work together with the therapist or counselor and after a while you will see some improvement.