What to do when a child does not want to go to school

What to do when a child does not want to go to school

Doesn’t our child want to go to school? What are the causes and what we must do, the floor to the pedagogist.

We have arrived at the resumption of the school year and, between the puzzles of the professorships and the resumption of city rhythms, with the hope that it will be a less problematic year than the previous ones, a problem can manifest itself in some families: the child does not want to go to school .

It has always happened, and certainly it will have happened to us too, at the time when we were the causes of our parents’ dark circles, that children do not want to go to school. Certainly, with the beginning of the school year, it is quite common. If, in fact, on the one hand, there is the enthusiasm of the beginning, the desire to see old friends, on the other, the idea of ​​homework, of the many hours sitting among the desks, of a series of rules to follow, from 8.00 to 16.00, can create some reluctance in some children.

It happens, even more, if the child is at the beginning of a new school cycle, passing for example from maternal to primary or from primary to secondary. The new beginning can be frightening, due to the great news, the absence of old classmates as well as the unknown of new subjects or teachers who do not know each other.

School, a reassuring second family for children, and also a source of friendships, relationships and personal growth as well as obviously notions, can become a cause of discomfort for some children, in a number of circumstances.

With the help of Dr. Tania Cacciari, pedagogist, expert in school age and learning disabilities, we try to clarify how to deal with cases in which children do not want to go to school.


  • The child does not want to go to school: whim or real discomfort?
  • The child does not want to go to school: what are the signs
  • What to do when a child does not want to go to school

The child does not want to go to school: whim or real discomfort?

When we are faced with our child who does not want to go to school, the first thing we think is that it is a whim. Perhaps a whim linked to the desire to still be free, on vacation, to play in the courtyard, which, on our side, do not give weight. Sometimes, however, some of us go off on a tangent trying to dissect the problem, wondering what the real cause of this malaise is.

“The resumption of school, at times, can be experienced with difficulty. The school involves an organizational change with respect to the months of vacation, such as waking up early, getting dressed, managing various tasks and commitments, the request to sit in class for a long time, conflict with the peer group, confrontation with other adults. How to distinguish whim from discomfort? In fact, in my opinion, you have to change your gaze: even a whim is a manifestation of discomfort. The child is showing us his discomfort with his communication methods. The whim is not unmotivated. The cries and screams are an explosion of uncontrolled emotions, which are based on the request of a need. It is up to us adults to try to change our gaze to understand better. The adult must try to listen, to lower himself to the level of the child, to understand what he is communicating to us and what is the motivation for refusing to go to school. Does the thought of not wanting to go to school appear in the evening, in the morning as soon as you wake up or outside the gate? It is also important to consider the context and environment in which it occurs.

If his reluctance to go to school persists for a prolonged time, we can no longer speak of a normal little desire to resume commitments, considering that school for children is fun and experience but also responsibility and effort.

The adult who tries to listen to the needs of the child will try to focus on understanding the motivation. One will have to ask if it is the fatigue of the morning wake up call; preparation times; the classroom context, and any relational problems; fatigue in the study; the difficulty in separating from parents and the home environment.

There can be so many factors that can determine a fatigue in going to school and, through careful observation, we can understand them. When we are able to understand them, we can become mediators for the child, giving word and form to his discomfort and accompanying him emotionally “.

Child does not want to go to school

The child does not want to go to school: what are the signs

We know that small children, but also the most shy and introverted ones, sometimes do not verbalize their difficulties. They can hide them, pretend not to give them weight, when they are older. If we parents are not particularly present in their daily life or we are experiencing a very demanding moment from a personal and professional point of view, we may not be able to read the signals that do not find space in our child’s language.

Here is what Dr. Tania Cacciari tells us.

“Children also send non-verbal signals when they are not well in a situation, for example they often suffer from headaches, stomach pains, somatize discomfort and sometimes they can even have panic attacks. The adult’s task is to accompany the child to clarify his experience and communicate it through a path of meta-reflection, in which together he reflects on his state of mind and on the strategies that can be put in place. It is essential to accompany the child to be aware of the emotions experienced, to name and verbalize the emotions and thoughts that influence them. It is important to remain calm even in the most intense moments of refusal and protest of the child. Avoid putting yourself in a challenge or struggle mode, because this closes the dialogue and confrontation. Shouting, threatening, giving ultimatums do not help the child but create greater distance. There is no magic that eliminates the little desire to go to school but you can try to implement strategies to increase motivation. A child who is not interested in school is a child who is not very motivated. The adult can use listening, time and patience ”.

Child does homework

What to do when a child does not want to go to school

When our child does not want to go to school, the parent can face a great difficulty. Morning management, in which every action is studied down to the second, starting with breakfast, is a thrilling organizational machine. All family members, on a tightrope, have to get to school and offices, and having a setback creates jitters and quarrels. The morning sclera, useless to put one’s head in the sand, is common in many homes, especially where the kilometers to reach the respective destinations are far from irrelevant. There is not always time to discuss, to be mediators. We are parents, with all the flaws of the case. We are not saints, we are not psychologists. Despite all this, if our child does not want to go to school, a solution must be sought, in the best way.

“When a parent begins to perceive that the refusal in going to school persists for a prolonged time, and by putting in place different strategies, as well as the comparison with the teachers, this effort remains, he can ask for support from a specialist figure such as a educator or psychologist.

The important thing is not to be alarmed and not to transmit worry and fear to your child, because this could lead to further difficulties in dealing with this issue (eg feeling guilty, etc.). One thing that can reassure parents, and consequently also children, is the fact that experiences are phases and all phases have an after, therefore a subsequent phase.

A third person can work in support of parents and the child through different professional methodologies, identifying those most suitable for that family unit and the story of the child “.

Cacciari, therefore, reassures us that we must not feel alone in these cases and that the comparison with the teachers is fundamental. When the child’s discomfort persists over time, the support of an ad hoc professional figure can also be requested. Cacciari suggests that we open ourselves to a constant and continuous dialogue, which creates clear communication with our son. In this way, it will be easier to understand what the source of the problem is and to deal with it in the right way. There are no magic formulas but a key must be found in the motivation to offer to our child, thanks also to the help of the teachers.

Now that we know a little more about how to deal with the case that our child does not want to go to school, all that remains is to understand how to do it when we do not want to go to work. But that’s a whole other story!

Category: Mom
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