3 Ways to Deal with a Child Who Doesn't Want to Go to School

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3 Ways to Deal with a Child Who Doesn't Want to Go to School
3 Ways to Deal with a Child Who Doesn't Want to Go to School

How frustrating and challenging it is to try to deal with a child who doesn't want to go to school! You may be wondering if this behavior is normal, why it is happening, and what to do to resolve this situation. The good news is that there are several ways to deal with this. Determine if this is one of those normal childhood stages or if it is a sign of a bigger problem. That way, you can be calm and consistent to deal with this phase or resolve the reasons that are causing this rejection of the school.


Method 1 of 3: Determining if it is a normal phase

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Step 1. Observe how often the child resists going to school

Sometimes it is normal for students not to want to go, as they may find something outside of school more interesting or they may have a specific, temporary reason for missing. In other situations, there seems to be no reason why the child should not want to go to school. This can help you determine if your child is avoiding as all other children do from time to time, or if he is showing signs of trouble at school.

  • For example, consider whether he has resistance immediately before or after the vacation. He may just be looking forward to taking a vacation or reluctant to end his rest days.
  • If you are his or her mother or father, contact the teacher to determine if your child is rejecting school because he or she is about to take an exam or present a project.
  • Try to find out if the child has had any arguments recently with a friend or partner. Students, especially teenagers, may end up resisting going to school for a short period of time for reasons like this.
  • Ask yourself if he doesn't want to go to school all the time. For example, consider whether the child resists every day regardless of what is happening.
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Step 2. Assess how much he resists

Some kids throw a tantrum every morning when it's time to get ready for school, but still, they end up getting dressed and going out. Other children, on the other hand, resist until they reach the school desk and even try to leave early. In more extreme situations, some even threaten to harm themselves. By determining how much the child is resisting, you can analyze whether this is a normal phase or a more serious rejection.

  • Try to rate resistance on a scale of 1 to 5:1 is when the child just says he doesn't want to go and 5 is when he throws a big tantrum.
  • Think on the edge of the things she says. For example, is she just saying she doesn't want to go to school or is she threatening to do something serious if you force her to go?
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Step 3. Assess the impact on the child's life

This can help determine the seriousness of the situation and how best to handle it. Although some children calmly refuse to go to school, this refusal can be so constant that they are always late or skip classes. Other children may resist, but they still go, and it has little effect on her life.

  • See if the child is arriving late or missing classes frequently, as this is a definite ending that there is a problem going on.
  • Take a look at your child's grades. Delays and frequent absences, as well as lack of participation when he is present, can have negative impacts on his academic life.
  • Ask yourself if your child is doing things that threaten their health or safety to avoid going to school. For example, has he ever forced himself to vomit or hurt himself to stay home?
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Step 4. Identify a normal phase

Every now and then every child refuses to go to school. It can be quite frustrating when this happens, but it's normal. Understand whether you are dealing with a normal rejection phase or a more serious rejection; in this way, it will be possible to determine the best way to handle the situation. Consider the frequency, intensity and impact of resistance to identify if it is just a normal phase.

  • This phase has very little impact on the child's life. For example, see if she is still getting good grades and getting to school on time.
  • When children are having a phase of refusing to go to school, they get angry, cry, verbally refuse and tantrum, but in the end they get dressed, go to school and end up having a good day.
  • Remember that resisting every day can be considered normal if the child normally arrives on time, stays at school all day, and generally behaves like they do at home. Maybe she just doesn't like to do anything in the morning.
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Step 5. Recognize a more serious rejection

Rejection can be a more persistent and more serious problem than just avoiding school. When you consider when, how often and how intensely the child resists going to school, and the impacts that are taking place, you will know whether you are dealing with something more serious or not and can decide how to deal with it.

  • Understand that rejection is serious when the child resists school almost every day and may take extreme measures to try to stay home.
  • It is possible to recognize the problem by the negative impact it has on the child's life, such as dropping out of school, frequent tardiness, early leaving, poor grades or behavioral problems at school.

Method 2 of 3: Staying Calm and Consistent

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Step 1. Look for signs that the child is avoiding school

Children will often show signs that they are trying to avoid going to school, especially younger ones. It's important to listen to the hints they give to get out of class and pay attention to other signals.

  • For example, listen for hints like: “Today is going to be so boring at school”. Or more direct phrases, such as: “I don't want to go to school today”, which indicate that she will resist.
  • Look for signs such as non-specific illnesses that occur spontaneously. For example, the night before an exam, your nine-year-old may have an upset stomach that he claims will keep him from going to school but won't interfere with shopping at night.
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Step 2. Stay positive about the situation

While your child's antics can drive you crazy, don't lose control. Your disposition can have a big influence on solving the problem. Keeping a positive attitude can help you stay calm and encourage your child to go to school. It may also be beneficial to think of strategies for getting your child to go to high school instead of reacting to the problem.

  • Speak calmly and firmly to get him to go to class. For example, you might say, "I'm not going to negotiate for you to go to school, but we can talk about ways to improve your experience."
  • Avoid yelling or threatening him. Don't yell, "I think you'd better go or you'll see the consequences!" Stay calm.
  • Remember that this situation is temporary and that you will be able to get over it. Tell yourself, “Don't be upset. This is temporary. Keep calm".
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Step 3. Remind your child of the consequences of not going to school

Although you don't want the child to have any negative consequences because of this resistance, dealing with the natural consequences can be a valuable lesson. Remind her of the tasks she will have to catch up on, the fun she will miss, and the effect this can have on grades, attendance history, and other activities.

  • Say something like: “But remember that if you miss class, your coach might not let you train. And if you don't train, he won't let you play in the next game.”
  • Or try saying, "Since you're going to have to work double time to keep up with all your chores, I don't think you'll have time to hang out with your friends tomorrow night."
  • Another option is to say that he will have more to do at home and that time for watching TV or playing video games will be restricted.
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Step 4. Motivate him with some incentives

Sometimes it can be very helpful to offer a small reward for going to school. This method should not be used every day, but it can be beneficial from time to time to help motivate your child.

  • For example, if your daughter doesn't want to go on her first day at her new school, you can offer new clothes to boost her confidence.
  • Another option is to prepare a special activity for a child who is sad when his parents drop him off at school in the first days of school.
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Step 5. Make the children bored at home

They often want to stay home because they think they can do a lot of fun things. One way to deal with this is to make this part of the day completely boring. This can encourage them to go to school because it can seem more fun than not going.

  • Tell your child he still needs to learn. For example, you can contact the teacher and ask him to do his homework for the day. Or you can create your own tasks for it yourself.
  • Restrict the use of games, electronic devices, or playtime. Say, "If you don't feel up to going to class, you don't feel up to playing either."
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Step 6. Be consistent

This provides a structure and routine for the children and helps them know what to expect from you. Its consistency will give them the confidence and security they need to go to school without incident, especially for younger children.

  • This means being consistent in insisting on getting them to go to school and not encouraging them or allowing them to miss class for no important reason.
  • It also means being consistent and picking them up at the right time every day or organizing something for when they get home.

Method 3 of 3: Dealing With Problems That Cause School Rejection

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Step 1. Provide reassurance in dealing with separation anxiety

This is a more frequent problem with younger children, but it can also happen with older ones. They may be afraid that they will stay away from you or that you won't come back. The best way to deal with separation anxiety is to reassure them and take steps to help them feel safe.

  • Talk to the child about what the day will be like. Say, “First, we will come to your classroom for you to have fun learning. I'll go to work and at 3 pm I'll go back to your office to pick you up”.
  • If you are a teacher, reassure the child that their parents will be back at the end of the day. Say something like, "After we've had fun learning, your dad will come and get you."
  • If you are the child's father or mother, always pick him up at the right time. If you're going to be late, call the school and let your child know.
  • Children may refuse to go to school after an illness or death in the family. Review any recent issues or losses.
  • Consider therapy to help the child overcome anxiety if necessary.
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Step 2. Report bullying

Unfortunately, this problem has been a daily reality for many children. In many cases, they refuse to go to school because they are being bullied and may not have reported it or they may not know how to handle it. If you find this to be the reason, talk to your child about what is happening and report it to the appropriate authorities.

  • Ask the child directly if he or she is being bullied. Say, "Is there anyone at school or is something going on that is bothering you?"
  • Tell your child that you are willing to help him. Say something like, “I know it can be hard to go to high school when you're being bullied. I'm here to help you and we'll get through it together.”
  • Talk to the school coordinator or principal or other authorities about what is happening with the child.
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Step 3. Seek help if you suspect abuse or neglect

Rejection or difficulties at school can sometimes be signs of child abuse or neglect. Look at areas in the child's behavior or life to determine if this is the problem. If you have any concerns regarding her safety, please contact the authorities immediately.

  • Research the signs and symptoms of child abuse to better identify them.
  • Report your concerns to the school psychologist, the child's pediatrician, or other authorities.
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Step 4. Use treatments for substance abuse

Children are abusing drugs and alcohol sooner than ever. In some cases, refusing to go to school can be a sign of this abuse. If you suspect this, look for other signs of the problem and seek treatment immediately.

  • Research the signs and symptoms of abuse to be able to identify them more accurately.
  • Show your concern. Say: “I think you have a substance abuse problem and it is interfering with your school life. I'm worried and I want to help you”.
  • Talk to your child's pediatrician about age-appropriate services.
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Step 5. Consider mental health issues

Sometimes problems such as depression, anxiety and other disorders can be the cause of resistance to going to school. Consider the child's mental health when planning ways to deal with this rejection. In some cases, treating these problems can completely eliminate it.

  • If the child has a diagnosed mental health problem, check how the treatment is going or if there have been any changes. For example, ask parents, "If you don't mind sharing, how is the treatment going?"
  • If you suspect these problems, contact your school psychologist or pediatrician as soon as possible. For example, if your child is withdrawing from everyone, with mood swings and no motivation for anything other than refusing to go to school, it could be a sign of depression and you should get help.


Remain calm, patient and consistent to overcome this situation


  • If the child is threatening to harm himself or others, contact the suicide prevention hotline by calling 141.
  • If the child is complaining about physical symptoms such as stomach or headache pain, check these facts to rule out any health problems.

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