My child does not want to go to school

When Maël is in class, he looks out the window and is jealous of the passers-by outside. The 9-year-old boy does not like school. For hundreds of children, the end of summer vacation and the return to school pose a challenge for him and his family. How can you better experience this transition?

Posted at 11:00 am

Maude Goyer

Maude Goyer
special collaboration

“He showed up in kindergarten. And since then, every time he returns to school, he has convulsions, he cries, he doesn’t want to go,” said Stéphanie Boivin, mother of Maël and two other children aged 12 and 11.

For Maël, the school “limits his freedom”. He can’t move there, run there and do whatever he wants there. “He is already anticipating the resumption of the routine”, M . fallme Boivin, a 37-year-old education consultant.

For Sofia, 13, it is different: it is her great shyness that delays her desire to go to school. “She has trouble taking her place,” explains her father, Renaud Moretti, a 54-year-old Montrealer. Back to school brings fear as she has to relearn how to live in a group. His instinct is to want to avoid it…”

Caroline Lambert faces a new challenge with her 10-year-old daughter. She has to make a lot of effort to keep up the pace of learning in the classroom. In addition, this year, another difficulty will be added: she will be separated from her big friend, assigned to another group of 5e year.

“Her only interest in school was due to this friendship,” says the mother of three who lives in Trois-Rivières. Knowing they won’t be in the same class, she doesn’t want to know about school, back to school, or even purchasing supplies! »

Listen and try to understand

For parents of these school-hating children, the past few weeks and the coming weeks have been emotionally charged. “We want to accompany and support her, but at the same time the goal remains the same, she has no choice but to go to school,” beams Mr. Moretti.

Nancy Doyon, specialist educator and family coach, agrees with this dad: There’s part of the determination to persevere as parents when kids are refusing to go to school. “The child must understand that not going to school or childcare is not an option,” she emphasizes.

The worst thing you can do, according to her? Take him home at the slightest inconvenience. Or try to convince him that everything will be fine, that it will be fun, coolsimple…

We should rather listen to our boy and try to understand why he doesn’t like school. What does he find difficult? We must allow him to empty his heart and we listen and welcome. The child must feel that his feelings are confirmed.

Nancy Doyon, Specialist Educator and Family Coach

Possible reasons include difficulties in school, feeling incompetent or socially inept, anxiety, or simply lack of interest.

Go back to the routine

According to psychologist Nathalie Parent, returning to the routine after a summer with a less structured schedule is a transition that can scare kids. “It’s good to ask yourself as a parent what the start of the school year means for us,” she says. Sometimes the children act in accordance with what the parents quietly think…”

His suggestion? Mention our own view of things and, if necessary, our discomfort. “You can say to your child, ‘It’s true we were on vacation, I don’t feel like it either!’ And then we focus our conversation on the things he likes about school, like his friendships, his music lesson, recreation, contact with a teacher…”

In the days before they go back to school, parents can establish a somewhat more regular routine in preparation for the start of the school year. “The routine is important, emphasizes Mélanie Bilodeau, psycho-educator. If it is stable, coherent and constant, it leads the child to take action, take responsibility and then lower their stress. »


Mélanie Bilodeau, psycho-pedagogue

In a similar vein, she adds that giving yourself time in the morning and evening so as not to rush the kids is one solution that can make it easier to get back to the routine.

Using child-soothing tools—manipulations, a family calendar, or cheerful music upon waking—can go a long way in comforting the sulking child.

“We can also talk to the teacher about the problem experienced,” says Marianne Bissonnette, product manager at Allo Prof Parent and Allo Prof Enseignant. “And as a parent you have to be careful to talk positively about school. That doesn’t mean you have to pretend it’s going to be beautiful and that it’s going to be the best moment of your life! But try to illustrate that besides the difficulties there are also interesting things in school. »

If the child is in crisis and expresses a lot of anger at school, or if the situation is accentuating the tension in the family, do not hesitate to consult a professional.

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