My child hates school. What do I do now?

Rest assured you are not alone. This is very common and can be resolved

The school year has begun and for most kids this is a momentous occasion as they get to see their friends again and meet their new teacher and it is all very exciting. However there are kiddies that don’t settle in as well as parents would have hoped for, and it can be massively stressful if your child suddenly refuses to go to school. It is estimated that at least 20% of kids will refuse to go to school at some point in their school years so parents are not alone and here are a few tips on what you can do and how to handle this hard situation. 
Some kids will not like school from the word go and when they start junior infants it won’t be the easy transition that you hoped for and for many parents they will be what feels like, dragging  their kids and leaving them crying and teary eyed. In most cases this is a perfectly normal phase and one that will ease off in the coming weeks ahead once your little one realises school is for good and they will eventually strike a bond with their Teacher. 
However some kids that have being in school for a year or maybe longer can suddenly take a dislike to school and refuse to go and as these youngsters are a good bit bigger than the junior kiddies it can become quite the battle.  
Questions you need to ask.
Why? If your child isn’t willing to open up, talk to the teacher and ask is there anything he/she has noticed during school that has caused your child to avoid school. Are there problems with any classmates? Bullying? Or is it just a case that your child is flexing his independence muscles and has decided school isn’t for them? These are all things you and his teacher will figure out together while talking to your child of course.
Is it just a case of separation anxiety? And in most cases certainly with the new students it is, however with older students who have grown accustomed to school there has to be a logical reason behind their behaviour. 
Is your child looking for attention and are the tantrums his way of telling you that they are there? Are you taking days off once they act up and staying home? Or are you forcing them to attend without question? Some kids will thrive on their mum staying home and will keep acting up as it means they are getting what they want. If parents insist on them going  it sends a message that there is no choice in school. Aa a parent you might find you need to take the hard line in this area and not let yourself be emotionally manipulated or the situation may get worse. 
What way does your child travel to school? Do they take the bus? Is that why they don’t want to go to school as the bus is their travel route and they don’t like being on it? If that is the issue you can look at other ways to get your child to school, maybe car pool or ask a friend to help. 
Getting them back to school. Work with the school to get your child back into the routine and communicate closely with them to keep on top of any issues that may arise. You may have to walk your child into school each day and wait until the teacher arrives and slowly build up to leaving them from the car park. It may take weeks to finally have peace of mind that your child is settled into school but time will pass quickly and kids are resilient and will bounce back. 
It is absolutely heart-breaking to force your child into school while they scream and cry however you are doing them no favours by keeping them off and hoping a day at home will solve the problem. It won’t ,and in actual fact it could even worsen the situation.  
Written by Emma, Irish mummy blogger and staff writer at 
Check out her own blog at


Emma Hayes

Emma Hayes is a busy mum to two girls aged 17 and 11 and is married to her childhood sweetheart.

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