How To Cope When Your Child Is Not Enjoying School

Many children take several weeks or months to completely settle in their new class and school.

When your child starts at “big school” it is a big deal for the whole household. Routines shift and work schedules may need to be altered to make way for all of the changes.  

This massive milestone is one that felt so very far away when your baby was born and now that it’s upon you it feels totally surreal. It is completely normal for your child to take some time to adjust to this big change. Many children take several weeks or months to completely settle in their new class and school, and most children will end up actually looking forward to going in each day.  

Unfortunately, that is not always the case and some children may simply not enjoy school at all. On paper, it has all of the things that they should like but no matter how well things are going or how much you do to help they just can't seem to settle.

This is a very stressful experience for parents because school is not just an extra-curricular activity you can choose to drop.   It can be quite upsetting to feel as though five days a week you are “forcing” your child to do something that they do not enjoy.  

It probably feels as though you are the only person whose child is not enjoying school. Everywhere you go people are gushing about how great things are going in that department for their children. Please know that you are not alone. The parents that are struggling are less likely to be screaming it from the rooftops but they exist and you are 100% not alone, we can assure you.  

If you are struggling to cope with this situation we hope that these tips might be helpful for you.

1. There is every chance that this is just a really extended period of settling in.

Your child may simply need more time to adjust to all of this change so hang in there it might just sort itself out.

2. Speak to your child’s teacher as openly and regularly as possible.

The class teacher might be able to reassure you in a really big way. For example, they might shed some light on the other children who are going through the very same thing as well as telling you about how your child appears when they are in the actual class. Many children dread school, protest about going but seem to love it when they are there.

Little boy covering his face with his hands.
It is no harm to assess their schedule as this can lead to exhaustion and a lack of enthusiasm.

3. Encourage your child to talk about how they feel.

Older children may be less forthcoming with information but it is important to rule out bullying or any difficulties with learning. This may be the very first step in the direction of improvement.

4. Talk about the positives of school and be aware that your child will be listening to you when you are talking to others about the issue.

Point out the positives as often as you can and encourage them about the new things they are learning at school and the areas they appear to be excelling in.  

5. Is your child simply doing too much?

It is no harm to assess their schedule as this can lead to exhaustion and a lack of enthusiasm.

6. Could your child be experiencing anxiety?

Speak to your GP as there are lots of therapies and treatments that may help them to combat this.

7. Try to focus on things other than school at the weekend and in the evenings.

If the talk, plans and preparations constantly revolve around the thing that they are not enjoying it might just exacerbate the anxiety or reluctance.

8. Avoid comparing them to their siblings, cousins etc.

Instead, mention the positives of your own experience of school to highlight the good parts.  

Tracey Quinn

Proud mum of two who got married on Don't Tell The Bride and had an accidental home-birth (loves a good story). She's passionate about breastfeeding, positive thinking & all things cosy.

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