Why is my child skipping school?

Children and teenagers have different reasons for skipping school. Getting to the bottom of these is key to helping them change their behaviour and feel more secure at school.

Boy at back of class

Why they might want to avoid school

  • Falling out with friends.
  • Bullying.
  • If they’re struggling with low self-esteem.
  • Feeling upset about things happening at home.
  • Having problems with school work.

Tackling truancy

The most important thing is helping your child get back to school. Remember this can take time and patience.

  • Start by talking together. Ask them how things are going, and how they feel. Try not to get angry, as this just makes the conversation harder.
  • Listen carefully. Make notes if you need to, and think about what they’re saying. This can help you work out why they don’t want to be at school.
  • Let your child know you’re there if they want to talk, and ready to support them if they’re upset.
  • Address the reasons your child doesn’t want to be at school, and get expert help if you need it.
  • You might need to make an appointment to talk to their teachers. You could contact a counsellor if you want support from someone not involved with the school.

It can also be worth talking about house rules. Boundaries let your child know what behaviour you expect. This helps them feel more secure and settled.

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