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If your kids don’t want to go to school, it can worry you (the parent) to no end.  We’ve been there for Kindergarten (we aren’t there now, but we were at one point).

when your child doesn't want to go to school

We are so lucky to have some amazing teachers!   Our 3 and 5 year old go to a preschool where they are loved and hugged and taken care of every day… every teacher at that school wants to be there and loves the children.  Our 7 and 9 year old go the school where I used to teach and they have had some of the very best teachers.   All of our kids come home every day with a smile on their faces and more knowledge in their brains.

I know that it can be scary for kids and you worry about them all day long.   Our oldest son, now in third grade, did not want to go to Kindergarten.   It was awful.   I knew that his teacher was great (I requested her), so it wasn’t that.  I knew that the school was amazing (I had taught there), so it wasn’t that, either.  Sometimes, it just boils down to the simple fact that they want to be home with you.  (Ps- within a few months, this had passed, so keep on hanging on if you are going through this right now.)

Every morning, Jack would wake up with a stomach ache.   He was literally sick with worry, which made me sick with worry.  He would get weepy the night before school and would tell me that he just wanted to stay home with me.  I was literally sick with worry for him.  I hated knowing that he was sad.   I worried about his day.  (Thankfully, he had such wonderful teachers that would text me to tell me that he was fine after I dropped him off!)     Oh- and by the way- the reason that he started WANTING to go?  I let him by the school lunch 3-4 times a week and I let him ride the bus.  Those things were exciting enough that he was “OK” to go!  Funny, right?  The things that work… 

I want to share a lot of tips for you and I’m going to break them up into two categories:
1- Tips from the teachers
2- Tips from other moms

Here are some tips, sent home by our daughter’s teachers, for when your kids don’t want to go to school…
1. Prepare your child for a new day by explaining what to expect.
2. Convey a positive attitude.  Your enthusiasm will assure your child that school is fun!
3. Establish routines in the morning & at night.
4. Tell them where you will be and when you will be back.
5. Maintain a clear good-bye routine.   (ex: “We are leaving in 3 minutes.” then hugs and kisses, then  leave.  Not one more hug, not giving them more time… just stick to the plan)

I asked this question on my Facebook page and here are the answers that were shared:
1. My advice would be to acknowledge his feelings, but explain that he still needs to go to school, then give him a reassuring and comforting hug.
2. Ask him to draw you a picture or pick a reading book that he can bring home so that he can share his experiences with you.
3. Create a memory book together. Ask him about his favourite thing that happened each day and then write it the book for him. He can then draw a picture to go with it. It can be your special thing and each morning, tell him how excited you are about adding to it after school.
4. Sticker charts, with a reward at the end of the week for going to school like a big, brave boy everyday, are also a fun option. 
5. You need to be brave – and maybe use a little tough love too. This will pass. His confidence will grow and he will be more independent as a result.
6.  Bring in a toy from home – it might just make him feel a little more comfortable and attract other kids too him if he’s struggling to find playmates etc.
7. Volunteer in his classroom.  Maybe if he sees how proud you are of what he does in the classroom, it will instill a sense of excitement for school.
8. Talk to the teacher one afternoon about what’s on the agenda for the next day. Talk it through with him and give him some things to say or do that will get positive feedback. Then spend time at the end of the day talking about what happened and how it made him feel. Focusing on the good stuff will help and if you can plant some success in his day he’ll feel better and have things to look forward to. Confidence and happiness go hand in hand.
9. Set up a play date with a friend from class.
10. Don’t show him that this is stressing you out. It will only make it worse for him. Give it a month then chat with his teacher.

I hope that helped!

Do you want to see more posts that you might like?  Check out these ones…

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Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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1 Comment

  1. While I was always ready and eager to go to school each morning, my brother struggled with it from the very first day of kindergarten. These are some really good tips to get a kid excited, so I’ll have to give them a try with the little ones I nanny for. Thanks for sharing!