These days if it's not one thing it's 10. My kids love school, then they hate it, then they love it again! We've gone through some very rough periods (in fact, we're going through one as I write this), but what is the best way to handle when your child doesn't want to go to school?
I think the first thing you have to do is get to the why.
Is it because of a negative experience they're having? As bullying is so rampant these days, I always want to check on that first. I ask my kids if there is anyone or anything that is making them uncomfortable or not feeling safe, and I let them know that it is never okay for another person to put their hands on them in any way.
Are they struggling with a certain subject? Sometimes when kids are having trouble with a subject, they internalize rather than get help, and that can be frustrating. I try to make sure they know they can always ask me to help with their school work (although I can't say that I'm very good at it nowadays, thanks Common Core!) and that they need to talk with their teacher. I remind them that's their teacher's job is to help them understand their work, that's what they get paid for, so they shouldn't have to be afraid to ask for help, ever.
Would they rather just stay home? I think this happens for a variety of reasons. Kids can go through times when they just want the comfort of home and family (or as I tell my girls, you just miss your mommy!). It can be especially tough if they've already been home sick to get back into the swing of things. After all, seeing what goes on at home outside of school is great to a kid, right? Like we moms are home doing all kinds of fun stuff, ha ha!
Once you know the why, you can focus on the how to help them want to go to school.
Talk about what's bothering them. If they are having serious issues like bullying or having trouble with a subject (or even a teacher) then you'll need to take charge and get the school officials involved. Let your child know that you are there to help and they won't have to go through this alone.
I'm typically a pretty non confrontational person (but I'm Italian, so you can only push me so far before I snap, LOL), but one year I had an issue with my daughters teacher. My daughter was bringing her handmade bracelets to school and selling them, and she didn't know this was against the rules. Heck, I used to do that when I was in school…made me a cool $14.25 in the 5th grade! Anyway, her teacher called her out in the hall and made her feel just terrible, like she should have known better, blah blah blah. Had my daughter in tears, and told her she had to go sit at a separate table at lunch where the kids go who misbehave. My daughter isn't a troublemaker, she's a good kid who really didn't know that rule (neither did I..we were told it was in the school handbook but after reading it from cover to cover, I didn't find anything) so in my opinion she could have been let off with a warning.
So needless to say, after emailing the teacher back and forth a couple of times, I called and talked to the principal, letting her know that my daughter would NOT be sitting at the troublemakers table at lunch. End of story. After an apology from the principal as to why I was never even notified about the incident (If my daughter is doing something wrong, why wasn't I notified? Especially since I make it clear every year that I am THAT kind of parent, I want to be informed if my kids are having troubles of any kind) we managed to get through the rest of that year without any further issues. My point is, we have to have our kids backs, and they have to know that no matter what is going on, mama bear is there for them and will always show up.
Go over tomorrow's plan at bedtime. It always helps my kids to be able to talk out their feelings (which of course they have more of at bedtime!) and I like to make sure they know what's on the agenda for the next day. Being prepared for tomorrow's events can help create a sense of peace, because they know what to expect, so there will (hopefully) be no surprises. That being said, you'll likely have to put a time limit on this event or you'll be getting to bed yourself around midnight.
Make sure they're getting enough time with you. This one is big, and I think it can help alleviate the “I just wanna stay home” attitude if your child is getting enough time with you. Of course they'll miss you, and that's okay, but they won't feel like they're missing out if they are getting that quality attention. Spending extra time playing games, watching movies or just hanging out, as well as a special date out can work wonders for a kid's attitude!
I know it can be a rough time handling when your child doesn't want to go to school, but trust me, this too shall pass. Hopefully these tips have been helpful, and feel free to let us know of any suggestions you have in the comments!
Disclosure: I'm just a regular mom sharing my ideas and tips on what's worked for me and my family. This is in no way meant to take the place of medical or psychological advice, if you are having serious trouble with your child please see a professional.