Helping Kids Do Better in School by Overcoming Absences
If you are anything like me – you are realizing that summer is now a fleeting memory and the smell of fall is in the air. Back to school has come and gone, and we are fast approaching the season where kids are undoubtedly going to be spreading all the fun germs at school. That means sick kids, which also means missing school. It is just a fact of life and we all know that it is going to happen at one point or another.
But something you may not know is that millions of kids across the United States are actually missing school on a weekly basis. They are continuing to fall further and further behind with no end in sight. Why? Because they lack the resources and knowledge to understand and take control of the situation in most cases.
A student who misses just two days of school each month — 18 days total in the year — is considered to be chronically absent. However, many parents don’t realize that, even when absences are excused or understandable, absences add up and can greatly impact a child’s education. In the United States, more than 6 million children are chronically absent from school each year.
Chronic absenteeism IS a thing. And it really is a big deal. And while most of us – you and me – would not let our children fall behind from missing school, some parents do not know any better. They need help and they need resources.
- “My child isn’t getting good grades.” By getting your child extra help—through tutoring, mentoring, personalized education plans and online learning resources—you can help your child improve their academic performance.School can be a very hard time for children. Help them prepare.
- “My child is being bullied at school.” Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior where one or more children use social or physical power to intimidate their peers or make them feel unsafe. Having a child with special needs can be especially daunting and stressful if they are dealing with bullying at school. There are ways to combat bullying and preparing early for back to school.
- “My child is often sick or doesn’t feel good.” Your child’s doctor can work with you to identify symptoms and treat potential health issues to give them a better chance of curing or managing illness. And even if your child has a chronic health condition, such as asthma, diabetes, oral health or vision problems, your school’s nurse or counselor can help provide medical support throughout the school day.
- “My child helps care for another family member at home.” It’s often difficult or impossible to plan in advance for what’s needed to care for all the members of your family. But if your child is missing school in order to help care for another family member—or because your caring for that person prevents you from helping your child get to school—it can negatively impact your child’s long-term success.
- “Our family is struggling with mental or emotional health.” As a parent, you may worry about the challenges your child is coping with during the school day and question whether it’s better for them to stay home or go to school. But missing school can end up reinforcing anxiety rather than making it better. Make sure you are stress free as a parent to help them to better cope with what they are going through.
- “Our family is having difficulties with housing or food.” School and aftercare programs are great places to ensure that children’s nutritional and physical needs are being met. When school is out, parents can also help address their children’s food needs by enrolling their children in summer learning programs. Beyond effectively reducing summer learning loss, 86% of these programs provide kids with at least one meal or snack each day–and 74% offer more than just a snack.
There are many reasons why students miss school when they don’t have to—struggling in the classroom, having trouble with bullies, or dealing with challenges at home. But when your child misses school for any reason, it becomes harder for them to succeed in school.
As a parent, you can identify the reasons why your child is absent from school and help them to overcome these challenges. Start here to find resources that can help you set your child up for long-term success by making sure they are in school every day.