CANADA AM Segment: When Your Child Won’t Go To School

You’re in the midst of “The Morning Rush” and your child is adding to your stress because they don’t want to go to school. The reasons are unclear; all you know is that you’re spending an inordinate amount of time trying to convince them to get their coat and shoes on and get out the front door.
For those of us who have dealt with this situation on more than one occasion, to say it’s frustrating is an understatement. When time is of the essence, the last thing you want to do is enter “negotiation territory” and start a long, painful talk with your child about why they don’t want to go to school.
Fortunately for us, there are ways of nipping this “I hate school” thing in the bud. The situation doesn’t have to be a drama of Shakespearean proportions, either.
If you’re looking for some simple advice on what to do before the next “I hate school” scenario hits, follow these tips:


1) Get to the root of the problem - Talk to your child and find out what their hesitation is really all about. Is it a teacher? A class? Another student? Are they being bullied? It could be as simple as them just not wanting to go due to sheer laziness, or could be something more. Start at a discussion and see what you can find out. Here’s a recent blog post I wrote about he topic of kids faking illness to get out of going to school:


2) Double check workload and lessons - ​Hmmm…has little Emily forgotten to tell you that​ she had a major project or assignment due and has neglected to get it done? Or perhaps it’s not that big of a project, but it’s late nonetheless. Either way, the fact of the matter may be that she is behind in her homework or lessons, whether by design or because she didn’t manage her time well. Now’s the time to use this opportunity as a “teachable moment” so that it doesn’t keep happening.

3) Check in with your child’s teachers - If this problem persists, it’s worthwhile to speak to your child’s teachers, a guidance counsellor or principal, if necessary. ​There may be something else amiss at school and those who are with your child on a regular basis may have more insight into what’s going on during the day.

4)​ Explain the consequences of missing school and follow through with them
- This may mean some type of deprivation of something the child likes, such as playing video games or watching their favourite show. If anything, not wanting to go to school​
​ as a frequent practice should be followed up by the parent with action, which shows the child that every behaviour has a consequence.​


​5) Make staying at home an unpleasant option - Make it clear to your child that if they stay home, it’s not a free-for-all where they have fun and games all day, watching TV, playing games, etc. Let them know that if they stay home, they will be expected to do chores such as cleaning, do homework and lessons and generally engage in ​activities that are not exactly fun. Upon hearing this, the child will likely change their mind.


Here’s my take on the topic on Canada AM:


VIDEO: When Your Child Hates School

Image courtesy of Getty Images and Huffington Post U.K.

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