Dealing with a child who does not want to go to school can be frustrating and challenging. You may wonder if this is normal behavior, why it does it, and what you can do about it. However, there are ways to deal with a child who does not want to go to school. Determine if this is normal child behavior or a sign of more serious problems. Then you can remain calm and consistent in dealing with their normal behavior of not wanting to go to school or addressing the issues that school refusal causes.
Method 1 of 3: Determine if this is normal behavior
Step 1. Monitor how often he refuses to go to school
There are some situations in which it is common for students to not want to go to school. Perhaps something that happens outside of school is more appealing to your child. Another thing that can happen is that you have a specific but temporary reason for not going to school. In other situations, it may seem like there is no specific reason why the child does not want to go to school. That can help you determine if the child avoids school like all children do from time to time or if he shows signs of school refusal.
- For example, think about whether your child refuses to go to school just before or after school holidays. Perhaps you are just excited about the beginning of the holidays or are reluctant to let them end.
- If you are the child's father, you can contact his teacher to determine if he is refusing to go to school because an exam or project due date is approaching.
- Find out if the child had an argument with a friend or classmate. Children, especially teenagers, may refuse to go to school for a short time in situations like that.
- Ask yourself if the child refuses to go to school all the time. For example, ask yourself if you think the child refuses to go to school every day no matter what happens.
Step 2. Evaluate the extent to which he is refusing to go to school
Some children throw a tantrum every morning as they get ready to go to school. However, once they are ready, they go without a problem. On the other hand, some children fight tooth and nail all the way to their desk and may even try to leave school early. In the extreme, some children even threaten to hurt themselves. Determining the extent to which a child refuses to go to school can help you to conclude whether their reluctance to go to school is normal or is refusal to go to school.
- Try to rate your child's reluctance on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being just saying he doesn't want to go and 5 being throwing a tantrum.
- Think how extreme the things the child says. For example, pay attention to whether he just says he doesn't want to go to school or threatens to take extreme action if you force him to go.
Step 3. Evaluate how this problem affects your life
Doing so can help you determine how serious the situation is, as well as how you should handle it. Although some children may refuse to go to school quietly, their reluctance may be to the point that they continue to be late for class or absent. Other children may refuse to go to school, but they attend and the problem has little effect on their lives.
- Observe if the child misses school frequently or is late. That is definitely a sign that there is a problem.
- Check the child's grades. Tardies, frequent absences, and lack of class participation negatively affect their grades.
- Ask yourself if your child does things that endanger their health or safety to avoid going to school. For example, pay attention to whether they induce vomiting or otherwise hurt themselves to stay home.
Step 4. Identify if their reluctance is normal
Every now and then all the children refuse to go to school. When that happens, it can be frustrating, but it's normal. Considering whether you are dealing with a normal reluctance to go to school or a school refusal will help you determine the best strategy to address the situation. Consider the frequency, intensity, and impact of reluctance to identify if it is normal.
- The normal reluctance to go to school has little or no impact on a child's life. For example, look for signs that the child's grades are not changing and he or she arrives at school on time.
- When children refuse to go to school normally, they may pout, cry, verbally refuse to go to school, or throw a tantrum. However, in the end they are ready, they go to school and often end up having a good day.
- Remember that refusing to go to school every day can be considered normal behavior if the child is frequently on time, stays at school all day, and generally behaves as he would normally at home. Maybe I'm just not a morning person.
Step 5. Determine if it is school refusal
That is a more persistent and serious problem than the normal reluctance to go to school. When you consider when, how often, and how intensely the child refuses to go to school along with how it impacts their life, you will have an idea of whether you deal with school refusal. Then you can decide the best way to deal with this problem.
- Understand that children who show school rejection refuse to go to school almost every day and may go to extreme lengths in trying to stay home.
- You can recognize school refusal by taking into account the negative impact it has on the child's life. For example, be aware of the following signs: truancy, frequent tardies and early dismissal from school, failing grades, or behavior problems at school.
Method 2 of 3: Stay Calm and Be Consistent
Step 1. Look for red flags that indicate a reluctance to go to school
Children, especially younger ones, will often give you red flags that they will try to avoid going to school. A big part of this will be paying attention to the clues that the child gives you that indicate that they will try to avoid going to school. Another part will be paying attention to other clues he might give you.
- For example, listen carefully to indirect statements she makes, such as "School is going to be boring," as well as direct statements such as, "I don't want to go to school," that indicate that she is refusing to go to school.
- Look for signs such as unspecific diseases that occur spontaneously. For example, maybe the night before a test, your fourth grader gets a stomachache that he claims will keep him from going to school but not going to the park in the afternoon.
Step 2. Stay positive about the situation
Although your child's eccentricities may possibly cause you to lose control, don't. Your willingness to deal with the problem that your child doesn't want to go to school can play an important role in how the situation unfolds. Staying positive will encourage your child to go to school and help you stay calm. In addition, that way, you can focus on creating strategies to get your child to go to school instead of reacting against him.
- Talk calmly but firmly with your child about going to school. For example, you can say something like, "Going to school is non-negotiable, but we can talk about how to make it a better experience for you."
- Avoid yelling or threatening him. For example, don't yell at her or say something like, “You better go to school or you'll be sorry! Instead, stay calm.
- Remember that this is a temporary situation that you can overcome. Convince yourself by saying the following: “I don't have to bother. This is temporary. You can stay calm. "
Step 3. Remind her of the consequences for missing school
Even if you don't want your child to experience any negative consequences due to refusing to go to school, dealing with the normal consequences of missing school can be a valuable lesson. Remind her of the work she will have to do, the fun that will be lost, and the effect it could have on her grades, attendance record, and other activities.
- You can say something like this: “Remember that if you miss school, your coach will not let you attend practice. And if you don't attend practice, you won't play the game. "
- You can also say something like, "Since you will have to catch up in addition to doing your usual chores, I don't think you will have time to go out with your friends tomorrow night."
- Another thing you can do is tell him that he will have to do extra chores around the house and he will not be able to watch television or play his video games.
Step 4. Motivate your child with incentives
Sometimes it can be helpful to offer your child a small treat for going to school. Although it is not a method that you should use every day, it can be useful from time to time to motivate your child to go to school!
- For example, if your daughter doesn't want to attend her new school on the first day of school, you can offer to buy her a new outfit to boost her confidence.
- Another thing you can do is prepare a special activity for a young child who gets angry when his father drops him off at school the first few times.
Step 5. Make staying home boring
Children often want to stay home because they imagine all the fun things to do. One way to deal with a child who doesn't want to go to school is to make staying home on a school day unpleasant. This will encourage your child to go to school because doing so will seem more fun than staying home.
- Let the child know that he will have to learn a few things while at home. For example, you can contact his teacher to get the day's homework and have your child do it at home. Another alternative is to create tasks for him to work on.
- Restrict the use of video games, electronic devices and hours of play during the day. You can say something like, "If you don't feel good enough to go to school, you won't be good enough to play either."
Step 6. Be consistent
In this way, you will provide your children with structure and a routine that will help them know what to expect. Especially when it comes to young children, your consistency will give them the peace of mind and security they need to go to school without incident.
- That means you should be consistent when you insist that your children attend school and not encourage or allow them to miss classes without good reason.
- That also means you need to be consistent about picking them up every day on time or making arrangements for when they get home.
Method 3 of 3: Addressing Problems That Lead to School Refusal
Step 1. Give him security so that he can handle separation anxiety
This is a common problem with younger children, although it can also be a concern with some older children. Your child may be afraid of being away from you or that you won't come back. The best way to deal with a child who does not want to go to school due to separation anxiety is to constantly provide reassurance and do things that help him feel more secure.
- Talk to the child about what will happen during the day. For example, you can say something like this: “First, we'll walk into your classroom so you can have fun learning. Then I'll go to work. Then at 3 o'clock I'll go to your classroom to pick you up. "
- If you are his teacher, assure the child that his father will return at the end of the day. You can say this: "After we have fun learning together, your dad will come pick you up."
- If you are the father of the child, always be on time for departure. If you are going to be late, call the school and let your child know.
- Children can reject school after the illness or death of a family member. Make a tally of any illness or loss in the family.
- If necessary, consider taking your child to therapy to cope with his anxiety.
Step 2. Report the bullying
Unfortunately, bullying has become a daily reality for many children. In many cases, children refuse to go to school because they are victims of bullying and may not have reported it or know how to deal with it. If you discover that this is the reason why your child does not want to go to school, you should talk to him about the problem and report it to the appropriate authorities.
- Ask the child directly if he is a victim of bullying. You can say something like, "Is there someone at school or something going on there that bothers you?"
- Let the child know that you are there to support them. You can say the following: “I know it can be hard going to school when you are bullied. I'm here for you and we're going to get over it. "
- Talk to the school counselor, principal, and other appropriate authorities about what is happening to your child.
Step 3. Seek help if you suspect the child is being abused or neglected
Refusing to go to school and having academic difficulties are often signs of child abuse or neglect. Look at other areas of the child's behavior and lifestyle to determine if they are being abused or neglected. If you are concerned about their safety, contact the authorities immediately.
- Review the signs and symptoms of child abuse listed on the Mayo Clinic website by clicking here.
- Report your concerns to the school counselor, the child's pediatrician, or other appropriate authorities.
Step 4. Get drug addiction treatment
Today, children start using drugs and alcohol at an earlier age than in the past. In some cases, a child's reluctance to go to school could be a symptom of drug addiction. If you suspect this is the case, look for other signs that the child might have a drug problem and seek treatment immediately.
- Find out about the signs and symptoms of drug addiction in children on the Internet.
- Let the child know that you are worried about him. You can say the following: “I think you have a drug problem and it is interfering with your desire to go to school. I am worried and want to help you”.
- Talk to your child's pediatrician about drug treatment services that are age appropriate and within your area.
Step 5. Be mindful of mental health issues
Sometimes problems like depression, anxiety, or other disorders can cause a child to refuse to go to school. Consider the child's mental health when planning to address school refusal. In some cases, treating a child's mental health problems can eliminate his reluctance to go to school.
- If the child has been diagnosed with a mental illness, check the status of his treatment or if there have been changes in him. For example, you can ask his father the following: "If you don't mind my asking, how is the treatment going now?"
- If you suspect that your child may have a mental illness, contact the school counselor or pediatrician as soon as possible. For example, if the child, in addition to refusing to go to school, isolates himself, has a bad mood or seems desperate, it could be a sign of depression and you should seek help.
If you remain calm, are patient and constant, you will be able to overcome this situation
- If the child threatens to hurt himself or someone else, you should contact the suicide prevention line in your country.
- If your child complains of physical symptoms, such as a stomachache or headache, be sure to take him to the doctor for an examination and rule out any medical problems.