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Posted by Dr. Monica Wonnacott | February 28, 2018

3 Tips To Combat Kids That Don’t Want To Go To School

My 7 year old had one of those mornings. You know the kind; she went crazy on me when I tried to help her get dressed (to hurry her along since we were late). You would have thought I was stabbing her for the screaming that ensued when I tried to brush her hair. Her dad finally took her to school (she missed her ride earlier), but came back some time later with her. Apparently, when they got there, she started to cry and carry on that she was “scared” and “nervous” and didn’t want to go to school. I didn’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that ultimately she wanted to stay home with mom on mom’s day off (especially since I’m back at work after having a baby) and “scared” was just the excuse. Little did she know, this was not my first rodeo.

I crafted a plan to help her come to her own conclusion that school was better than the alternative of staying home. This was my plan:


  1. Take away all privileges.
    1. No Media
    2. No playing with friends
    3. No games, playing, or activities that the child enjoys
    4. No treats
  2. Fill the day with undesired work. My daughter hates doing laundry and today happened to be laundry day. Every time I was changing, hanging, or folding laundry, I made her help. It was torture for her. I also had her clean a messy closet. Every parent has a never ending list of things that need cleaning or doing. Have your child do those chores. I very deliberately rattled off 20 things from my “To Do” list and told her we had to go through them
  3. Eliminate fun things. I was planning on taking lunch to great-grandma later in the day. I quickly rescheduled that activity.

As we continued to do chore after chore, I verbally reiterated that we had to get it all done, these were the things I did why she was having fun at school, and this was what it was like being a grown up. By 10:30 a.m., my daughter was saying, “Please, I don’t want to be a grown up, I want to be a kid. Can I please go back to school?” Victory was mine! I reluctantly agreed to take her back to school. We went into the office together and (winking) asked the office if my daughter could please be allowed to come back to school if she promised never to try and stay home again. The cute office staff, played along and after confirming her promise, agreed to let her back in school.  In the end, I may not have gotten all that I wanted to get done on my day off, but I don’t think I’ll have to worry about this child trying to get out of school again.