'I don't want to go to school!' We've heard it before, and we'll hear it again. In fact, we sometimes may even think it ourselves in the form of, 'I don't want to go to work!' Children and adults alike sometimes struggle to do the things we know we "should" do, dishes and laundry being great examples. But when a child says, 'I don't want to go to school!' what might he or she mean?
- It could mean that they've had a great weekend at home with mom and dad, and don't understand why you now have to be parted.
- It could mean that school is scary because it's a new place with new faces and customs.
- It could mean that they're tired or hungry! Maybe they didn't rest well the night before.
There are so many reasons a child might not want to go to school on a particular day. Here are a few ways to get through this hesitation in a positive, non-threatening way:
- Look at the calendar together and speak about which days are school days and which days are stay-at-home days. Doing this regularly will help your child establish a solid routine and feel safe in the knowledge of what's ahead.
- Take an extra moment to sit quietly together. Let your child tell you exactly what it is that is bothering them, and give quiet reassurance that everything will be okay.
- Help your child remember all of the things they like about school. Mention specific friends they like to play with, a special treat you put in their lunchbox, or the story they get to tell their favorite teacher upon arrival at school.
- Walk them through the day, step-by-step. 'First I will drop you off and we will have a hug and a kiss. Then you will go to school to be with your friends, and I will go to work. After that I will pick you up right here, and we will go home together to have dinner and playtime.'
Everyday is a new day, and by reacting calmly and assuredly, your child will soon cherish their dependable school routine.