What if your child refuses to go to school?

Are you puzzled about what to do when your child refuses to go to school? You’ve reached the right place. But, before you learn about how to get your child to go to school, you should know at what point skipping school is bad for your children.

How do you know your child’s school refusals are serious and need attention?

Everyone resists going to school once in a while, but school refusal behaviour is an extreme pattern of avoiding school that causes real problems for a child. School refusal is distinguished from normal avoidance by a number of factors:

  • How long a child has been avoiding school
  • How much distress she associates with attending school
  • How strongly she resists
  • How much her resistance is interfering with her (and her family’s) life

Including all these aspects is important, because a child can still have school refusal even if she attends school most days.

When school refusal starts to become a bigger problem—it’s going on for numerous days, weeks or even months—you should reach out and ask for help. This includes kids who go to school but only attend partial days because they are spending a lot of time in the nurse’s office and getting sent home early from school.

When school refusal starts to become a bigger problem—it’s going on for numerous days, weeks or even months—you should reach out and ask for help. This includes kids who go to school but only attend partial days because they are spending a lot of time in the nurse’s office and getting sent home early from school.

What should you do when your child refuses to go to school?

Here are some steps to take.

  1. Check for physical causes. If your child is complaining of physical symptoms, have her checked by a physician. It’s unlikely that anything is physically wrong with your child, but you don’t want to make that assumption and later find out you’re wrong.
  2. Simulate a learning environment. If your child does end up staying home and is not ill, have him read, study, sit upright at a desk, and so forth. For adolescents, you may also want to make sleeping off limits, as this is alluring for many in this age group. Some of these suggestions will prove difficult to follow for working parents but do your best. Consider enlisting the aid of a nonworking friend, relative, or neighbour for short period of time.

 

  1. Get to the heart of the issue. Sometimes it is actually a child’s lack of problem solving skills that are the root of the issue. For example, your child might be falling behind in class, but doesn’t know how to approach her teacher and ask for help. Spend some time talking with your child to really dig deep into the problem. Ask open ended questions—these usually start with “what,” “when,” or “how.” You might ask, “When do you have the toughest time in school?” or “What goes on for you when the teacher assigns something that seems really difficult?” You might also get input from the teacher and support staff at your child’s school as well—they often see things you don’t see, and report things your child won’t report to you.
  2. Be supportive and use positive incentives. Recognize your child’s progress, even “baby steps.” Let your child know you can see she is trying or let her know you noticed that she cried a bit less (or fought a bit less!) this morning and she’s on the right track. Frame your accountability system in a positive way: “For each day that you do _______, you get an extra 15 minutes of computer time.” Or “Once you do _____, you earn your _________ for the day.” Notice I am not saying never to use consequences. I suggest offering extra incentives first and if that doesn’t work, make a current privilege dependent upon your child going to school each day. Every time you offer an incentive there is a built-in consequence—they don’t earn the incentive.
  3. Enlist support. Consider having someone else take your child to school until the situation is resolved. Because emotions are so charged during a time like this, it can be helpful to remove yourself from the job of having to force your child to go to school. If there is a related separation anxiety with the mother, for example, have the father take the child to school. Or have a friend or another family member be in charge of these transition times until the child has made a successful re-entry into school.

 

It’s best to be proactive and catch school refusal as soon as you can. Unfortunately, the longer a child misses school, the harder it is to get back in the routine, because being absent is very reinforcing. I have worked with families that describe getting ready for school like it’s a battle complete with huge tantrums. Sometimes the morning gets so challenging and exhausting that mom and dad just give up and say, “Fine, stay home; I’ll go pick up your homework.” It’s a very understandable situation, but again, letting it continue puts kids one day further from being back at school. It is important for parents to know that the sooner the child gets back to school the better, and reaching out for help is an important first step.

Most times it’s directly on the school and how they deal with children which influences school refusal, so pick the best school for your child. Visit Sanfort and learn more about our education system which vastly differs from the outdated one most schools use, and learn why our school is the best for your child!

Visit: http://www.sanfortschools.com/

Contact info: Ph.: +91-120- 415- 8741 / 42

Fax: +91-120- 415- 2839

Toll Free:1800-1029-503

Email:info@sanfortschools.com

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