Helping Your Child Who Won't Go to School
Listen to what your child is telling you:
- Take your child’s complaints seriously. Remember that fear of going to school may be a sign that something is happening in your child’s life.
- Talk to your child not only about what’s happening in the classroom and outside of the classroom. Is something happening on the bus, in the lunch room, or are they being bullied?
- Think about any recent changes that may have happened to your home. Is there a family member that is ill, did someone move, or is your family going through a big change? Children often have the misconception that if they stay home they can help "fix" what is happening at home.
- Validate your child’s emotions. Reassure your child that you accept that he or she may be scared or nervous. Pay extra attention to your child’s nonverbal signals. Instead of directly asking what he’s afraid of, ask him what he did all day. Look for when his eyes avoid you or look down at the ground.
- If there’s a real basis for his fears, such as a bully taking his money or older children threatening him, talk to the teacher, dean, social worker, and/or the principal. School should be a safe haven for children.
- If your child is feeling better by midmorning, bring him or her to school at that time, rather than waiting until the next day.
How Can Parents Help Improve Attendance?
- Make sure your child completes all of their homework. Checking to make sure it is done will help reduce the anxiety the child may feel about coming to school unprepared.
- Set reasonable bedtimes. If children are too tired in the morning they risk being late or skipping school.
- Plan to make sure everyone has enough time in the morning to get ready for school, get their belongings prepared, and eat breakfast.
- Get involved in the school by attending events or PTA meetings. Model for your child that school is important.
- Make school a priority. Allowing students to miss school for reasons other than illness or family emergencies teaches them that school is not important.
- Escort your child to school by walking them or driving them.
- Monitor changes in your child's relationships with friends, teachers, and family members. Difficulties in these areas can cause your child to be reluctant to attend school.
- Encourage your child to take an active role in school clubs and sports.
- Keep a schedule for your child to go to bed, wake up, have breakfast, arrive at school, and complete homework.
- Contact the Family Liasion for additional support. (Click on the following names to email the Family Liaisons: Noemi Galvez and Veronica Ramos)