10 Answers

My eldest started school this year. Every morning it’s an absolute struggle to get him to go. It’s a fight to get him dressed, to get him in the car, to get him out the car and finally in those school gates and then the classroom. It’s like pulling teeth. We’ve tried many things in these early days and nothing seems to be working. He won’t tell us why he doesn’t want to go. Just that it’s stupid and he wants to stay home. The teachers have been helpful but he’s wearing thin on everyone.

We have a reward chart and going to school
without fighting earns 2 stickers. I need ideas on how to go about this. Once he’s at school and calmed down he loves it even comes home saying how excited he is for the next day and already in the short weeks he’s done has learnt Soo much but every morning Is that same fight and struggle.

What do I do? How do I handle this?
I’m at my wit’s ends and don’t know what to do.

Posted anonymously, 10th February 2020

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  • There could be more than one issue contributing to this.
    If he went to Pre- School it would not have been all day 5 days a week. There was a long break between than and the start of the school year. Even if he visited the school last year I doubt he remembers where some areas such as the toilets, library etc are. Does he know any other children in his class? Is he getting plenty of uninterrupted sleep each night? He is possibly tired by the end of the school day and he will remember that. Has he already had his 5th birthday or has he started school before the official date before pupils have to wait to start school next year? If so, he may struggle to keep up with the standards required.

  • My daughter was the same and it was made worse by her father leaving around the same time, I took her to a psychologist and it made a world of difference. This year she went off happily on the first day

  • My youngest is a bit like this, she’s 6 and repeats prep. First of all I think it’s important not to deny his feelings but listen and show empathy and in the meantime explain that school is part of life. It helps to take plenty of time in the morning to get ready so you don’t have to chase and get frustrated time wise, my daughter definitely picks up on that. I also take go early to school and take time to play at the school ground together with her friends to connect, also the prevent drama at the school ground walking hand in hand. Things what help us; write a wee social story of what is happening, build in little instant praise and rewards (for example dressing before breakfast and then reward with a favourite breakfast like pancakes or so, in reward for walking hand in hand a preferred activity like playing a ball game hide and seek, duck-duck-goose or blowing bubbles – I carry a wee bottle in my pocket)

  • I have seen this so many times when I was teaching prep and it was so hard on both the parents and the kids. Most of the time once the parents had gone the kids would be great. I know it is taking a took but just keep trying. It is a huge thing to go to school and start that be chapter without having you there as their comfort and safe person. Try a special trip off handshake, a now in their lunch box, talk to them about what they need to do when you are taking them to school, just keep telling them you will be there too pick them up and be positive each day (I know easy said than done).

  • I think honesty is sometimes the best policy. Explain to him why he needs to go and why school isn’t stupid. Sit him down and ask what he would like to be when he grows up and then explain how he needs to go to school to be able to learn enough to do that.

  • Hard question to answer – all of mine couldn’t wait to get there.
    Check if he is being bullied, and then you just might have to say he has to go.

  • My first whole year of school I had anxiety and would throw up every day.. can’t even say something was wrong… I just grew out of it. Hopefully he will too

  • Sounds like he genuinely doesn’t want to go to school, maybe he’s being bullied? Talk to the teachers and find out if the know if anything’s going on

  • Yes, maybe he just needs a little bit more time to adapt. It must be so frustrating, I can imagine!

  • At least you’re still managing to get him to school, that’s a win. Maybe it’s just a matter of time. He seems to feel enjoying school once he’s there, hopefully the enjoyment will surpass his next t wanting to go and your mornings will become easier

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