Overcoming Attendance Obstacles

Posted by Columbia Academy on 9/24/2019

Attendance matters, even more than you may think. A few days absent from school here and there doesn’t seem to add up to much, but even those few days can be extremely important.

According to research conducted by the University of Chicago, a child who misses just a couple of days of school per year is much more likely to succeed in high school than one who misses one or two days a month. Showing up matters. You can help your child do their best in school, first and foremost, but making sure they they are in school.

Most students who miss school do so with the permission of their parent/guardian, often in response to the child saying they don’t feel well. Parents need to be careful of simply accepting this and instead, truly make sure that their child really is sick before allowing them to stay home.

Middle school especially can be a stressful time and it's natural for students to try and avoid school or suffer some anxiety. Helping students understand it is important to get up and go to school if one is well enough -- despite not always wanting to go --is a very important lesson to learn. This requires parents to only keep kids home when there are clear signs that the child is too sick to attend school.

Lack of sleep is another reason students often miss school. Studies show that middle-schoolers need about nine hours of sleep a night. Unfortunately, some students are getting much less than this, often due to being up late on social media or playing video games. Limiting your child’s use of electronic devices at night and getting to bed by nine- or ten-o-clock may greatly improve your child’s ability to wake up in the morning and not miss school. Tired students still need to come to school. Adjustments need to be made to increase sleep rather than keeping students home. 

Finally, sometimes students are experiencing something difficult at school and are nervous to attend. Unfortunately, staying home means the matter is not being addressed and most likely will still be a problem when the child does return to school. School personnel can help you identify and solve the issues your child is having at school. This could be a disagreement among friends, bullying or struggling to keep up in classes. If you think your child is trying to stay home to avoid an issue at school, contact an administrator to discuss your concerns and find a solution.

Making good decisions about whether or not your child should go to school is an important part of parenting. In the end, attendance improves when parents set a high bar for their child to stay home. It shouldn’t be easy for a child to find a reason not to be in school. Here are some questions to ask yourself the next time your child wants to stay home:  

  • Do I really think my child is so sick, tired, or troubled to the point that they can’t go to school?
  • Am I being a responsible adult or am I being permissive?
  • Is there a pattern of my child wanting to stay home that needs to be changed?
  • Very little in life is more important than getting an education. Is the issue today big enough to get in the way of that?

Attendance matters--your child’s education depends on it! 

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