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What to do if your child does not want to go to school

Weekday mornings with school going kids can be quite stressful for any parent. With lunchboxes to pack, breakfast to be eaten, clean uniforms to be sourced and traffic to be detoured, the last thing you need is a child not wanting to go to school. Without being perplexed and responding based on how you feel (which is frustrated and vexed), stop for a moment and analyse the situation. 

As, Malathi Kahandaliyanage, Consultant Education and Behaviour Therapist advices, any unusual behaviour displayed by your child is a way of communicating that he/she does not want to go to school. This is because there is something going on in your child's mind and he/she is trying to communicate that to you. Refusal to go to school happens when a child gets extremely upset at the idea of going to school. Children who refuse to go to school usually spend the day at home with their parents, which is what they want; to feel safe and to not be challenged to do new things. 

Obviously, our first reaction is to question the child. Many kids will display phantom feelings of being ill. Address those initially. Then you can start to encourage them; remind the child about a favourite class or activity happening today. 

Ms. Kahandaliyanage enlightens us on how we can positively address the problem in specific situations. Here’s what she had to say.


When you are talking to your child,


When you are at home,


When getting to school,


Question you need to ask yourself,

Expert Advice provided by 


Written by Mayuri Jayasinghe, based on an interview with Malathi Kahandaliyanage - Consultation Education and Behaviour Therapist.

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