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 a number of issues. It’s possible that they are being bullied. They may also be having trouble meeting their academic requirements. They could be having issues with responding to authority and rules. They can also be having other types of anxieties which may or may not be be related to school. Sara Bean also suggests that, 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 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 really 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, counselling, 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 children are influenced by your attitude. Based on Nixon’s advice, the article linked above suggests to be positive in the mornings and leave enough time as to not rush them to school. 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. This 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 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 after school related activity. Not only will your child make new friends, it will give them a positive outlook on school. They will have something to look forward to after school is done. Do be careful that you are not over-scheduling your children though, as they still need time to do homework and rest.
If you 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 do so!
Plus, see these related articles on our blog!
- Spending one-on-one time with your child to figure out how they learn
- Learning how your child learns: making the assessment
- The importance of interest in learning