• at March 25, 2018

    My youngest son just started his first year in elementary school and it has been a real struggle for him. I’ve taken him to pre-school and kindergarten classes, which never caused any problems for him, so I was surprised that he reacted so badly about the first grade.

    At first, I thought it was a phase and he would eventually settle into his new environment. It was a new school, we moved into a new neighbourhood, and his older brother moved away to boarding school. I understand there were a lot of changes in his life, but I thought the uneasiness would go away after a few months. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s the case. If anything, I feel like he has grown even more reluctant to go to school, even more so than before.

    It hasn’t affected his studies yet. The teachers haven’t noted any hindrance to his developmental levels, so he’s learning at the same rate as the other kids in his class. The problem is his morale. I can’t convince him to be excited about school. He puts up a huge fuss about getting ready in the mornings. He cries, he yells, he complains all the way on the car every morning.

    I’m getting more and more concerned. What can I do to make my son love going to school again?

  • at March 25, 2018

    Hi Candice!

    This is a tricky issue. Don’t blame yourself, but don’t blame your child either. Let’s face it, nobody likes going to school, especially not when you’re a child at that delicate age. As much as you think your son hates school, I’m sure the other kids in his class aren’t that enthusiastic either. You’re not alone on that front.

    Ask your son to describe what he doesn’t like about going to school. Is it the teacher? Is it the other classmates? Is it the curriculum? Maybe what he’s learning in class is either too easy or too difficult for him.

    I’m sure you did this already, but definitely do have a sit-down meeting with your son’s teacher to learn more. Find out his behaviour in the classroom. Is he moody and sulky for the whole time? Or is he just grumpy in the mornings? Best case scenario, maybe your son just isn’t a morning person!

  • at March 26, 2018

    Thanks for the thoughtful response, Allison. I’m not much of a morning person either, and I wished the problem was as straightforward as that, but I have a feeling my son’s distaste for school goes deeper than just waking up too early each day. The problem is I just can’t figure out what.

    The teacher wasn’t much help, to be perfectly honest. She didn’t even notice anything wrong with my son until I talked to her about it. She was kind but ultimately didn’t offer any new information to me. She did suggest that I take my son to go see a child psychologist if the problem persists.

    I keep asking my son what he doesn’t like about school, but his answers are either very vague or very condensed. Sometimes he would just say he hates everything about school. He hates the teacher, hates his classmates, hates what he’s learning.

    I’m at a loss of what to do!

  • at March 27, 2018

    I don’t know, maybe your son’s teacher was onto something. Taking him to go see a child psychologist isn’t the worst idea in the world. If you’re at a loss, maybe a psychologist will find out something that you may have missed.

  • at March 27, 2018

    Have you considered changing schools again? I know you just moved, but maybe what your son needs is a fresh start. A new teacher, a new classroom, and some new friends and classmates could put a positive spin to a dampened academic spirit.

  • at March 27, 2018

    I would advise moving or changing schools again. It sounds like your son has gone through many changes in the past year and he didn’t respond particularly well to it. He had a new house and a new school, whilst also losing his older brother who was a regular fixture in his life. The last thing your son needs is more uncertainty and more turmoil. No more changes. Time to settle down.

  • at March 29, 2018

    As a strong advocate for mental health, I second Victoria’s opinion about seeing a child psychologist. If your son is seriously THAT unhappy, the core of his problems might be beyond your capabilities. You should get a professional opinion as soon as possible.

    Here’s a list of some great child psychologists in the Toronto area. They’re all experts and they’re available to help.