When your kid doesn't want to go to school?

I know school can be boring and hard, but also, my kid is 3 so school for him is fun.

For some reason he’s been talking about not wanting to go to school, pretty much every morning. I’m not sure what it’s about. The teacher’s say he’s doing fine.

I’ve noticed he’s been a bit clingy with me and I’m not sure what that’s about. A little nervous that his attachment isn’t so great and it’s my fault (I know, I know, attachment is the parenting panic of our generation and so overused).

Any thoughts and have your kids gone through this?


A simple one to start, make sure he Isn’t regularly watching an episode of a show that models separation anxiety/drop off anxiety. While we watch a Daniel tiger episode and see him use coping skills and remember that as a take away, kids see the “panic about drop off” as a separate skill as well, and one to imitate.


Is it that he doesn’t want to go to school or that he doesn’t want to leave you? Getting some kids books on this might help him think it through and communicate with you. We had the You Go Away book in rotation for a while.

Kiddo was generally good at drop off but even he had his off days when we had to leave him in tears and the teacher would message us fifteen minutes later that he was playing happily. Oop, work meeting coming up, gotta run.


That sounds really hard! I’m mostly following because my kid is younger and not in 5 day a week school.

We did have a lot of problems with drop off initially and had to just hand over a crying child, but he warmed up at school quickly except for one sad day. A pattern I’ve noticed is that if he isn’t getting enough time at home (busy weekends etc) he will try to say no to school on Tuesday or Thursday. Last night he had school and then we did backyard time again and he was pushing to go inside. But I brought out books and cuddles and read and then we cuddled and did a movie. Today he’s playing/reading independently. So I guess he needs some home time.

Also he responds really really well to the way Daniel tiger explains stuff, but every kid is different


When my kids don’t want to go to school I say “tough titties”
That may not be appropriate in this situation.


We double checked that there were no issues with carers, and worked out what he didn’t like about going. One part was Duckling really wanted a routine to feel safe. So we drew a list of how to get ready using pictures, and we also drew up the week with a picture of school on his school days and our home in his off days. That made him much more cheerful about going, where before it was a screaming crying session every morning.


This is a super great strategy! I’ve been really impressed with how well kids respond to pictures of what you want them to do in the preschools I’ve been working in.

Some kids really like knowing what’s expected, so a visual schedule helps. I think you already have something like that, @Meowkins? Some kids enjoy feeling like they have some responsibility, so they love a checklist. Those are the future cruise ship directors!

In general, I would say transitions are just hard for kids. Well, maybe all of us. Even if there’s a place I want to go and I know I’ll have fun once I’m there, I just don’t want to stop what I’m doing and switch over to getting ready to go. Sometimes kids just need far more patience than we feel we have time for. Countdown clocks and lots of warning can help, too. Maybe extra hugs and cuddles as well.


Thank you all! I bought the book and will monitor tv and YouTube Kids more closely.

Also love the idea of using picture checklists. We have something like that for bedtime but completely missed getting ready for school. Duh.