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Free Printable Behavior Charts and Reward Charts for Kids!

When Kids Don't Want to Go to School

frustrated boy

When a child refuses to go to school, it can be a mystery for parents. Are there problems at school? Is your child tired or merely being obstinate? Trying to solve this mystery can be frustrating and create power struggles. Take a look at some suggestions below to see if maybe the puzzle is easier to solve than you think!

Make sure that your child is getting enough sleep. Is it difficult getting your child out of bed? It’s less common for younger children to sleep in. Usually, parents find the opposite true. They can’t keep their kids in bed long enough! When a young child is groggy in the morning, he may not be getting enough sleep. Older children, especially preteens and teens, fall asleep later and may have a tougher time getting up in the morning. It’s recommended that a child between the ages of six and thirteen have 9-11 hours of sleep per day. Teenagers should have 8-10 hours per day.

Assess the school situation. How is school going for your child? Is there any reason she would not want to go to school? How are her peer relations at school? How is she doing in class? Do some investigating. Have a conversation with your child. Check in with teachers to verify your child’s report. If there is a school-related issue that’s disrupting her behavior, meet with a school or family counselor.

If everything is going well at school and your child just isn't a morning person, here are a few tips:

The night before school, get as much ready as possible. You can incorporate this into your child’s nighttime routine. Get his backpack ready and any papers signed that need to go back to school. Then, help him pick out clothes for the next day, and lay them out. If he wears a uniform, place his uniform in a convenient location. Try to follow the same routine every night and include some rituals such as reading or taking a bath or shower. Use a daily routine chart as a guide.

Keep a consistent bedtime. To make sure that your child has enough sleep every night, keep her bedtime as consistent as possible. Try not to vary bedtimes too much on weekends. Doing so can make it tough for kids to get back on their weekday schedules.

Use a behavior chart or daily routine chart. Set up a behavior chart to motivate her in the morning. Include behaviors such as getting out of bed promptly, dressing, and brushing her teeth. Check out our morning routine charts for some ideas of morning expectations. Use rewards or incentives based on your child's age. Provide a daily or a weekly reward.

Stick to routines. Keep your child’s nighttime routine and morning routine as consistent as possible. During the weekend, have a weekend routine. When you keep kids on a schedule, it will make the transition to the school week smoother.

And don't forget to give your child lots of positive reinforcement when he does a great job. Catch him being good!