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How can I get my teenager to go to school

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Many teenagers seek independence and may be reluctant or refuse to go to school.

Parents and caregivers continue to have a legal obligation in the teen years to send their child to school every school day, all day.

Some strategies that can assist improve attendance:

  • Talk about the importance of showing up to school every day, make that the expectation. Regular attendance at school sets up good behaviours for regular attendance at work.
  • Help your teenager maintain daily routines such as finishing homework and getting a good night's sleep. On average, teenagers need 8-9 hours sleep to be healthy and alert. You may also need to monitor their use of the Internet, mobile phone and TV at night to ensure they are not staying up too late or being disturbed while sleeping.
  • Try not to schedule hair, dental or medical appointments during school hours. Arrange family holidays during scheduled school holidays so that they are not missing out on classes and, therefore, will not have to struggle to make up for lost time.
  • Don't let your teenager stay home unless genuinely sick. Complaints of headaches or stomach aches may be signs of anxiety.
  • If your teenager wants to stay home to finish an assignment, rather than letting them stay home, expect them to go to school - make attendance the number one priority. Later, you can discuss with them how they can improve their study habits or adjust their schedule.

More strategies and information on how to get your teenager to go to school (PDF, 863KB).

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Last updated 12 July 2019