Facing a child with truancy issues can be frustrating, but if you take the time to understand together you can create a solution that addresses the underlying issue and create a plan for success in the future. Here are three ways you can help a child overcome a truancy problem:
Communication with your child about valuing education and set limits
Begin by having an open and honest dialogue with your child. Sometimes, by simply understanding the underlying concerns your child has about a specific class can guide you to solutions to solve the problem. For some students, the reason they skip is about the class, itself, whether it's too hard or too easy. These problems can be addressed in your conversation and plans can be made to meet your child's needs. During conversations with your child, you should explain your expectations as they relate to their education. Do you expect them to attend every class? How will you support them in achieving their academic goals? Create a plan that works both for you as the parent and your child as the student. In addition, you should let your child know that while truancy is an ongoing problem you will continue to work with their school to assess attendance issues until you are satisfied that they have returned to regular class attendance.
Creating a support system for homework
Sometimes, students skip class because of struggles with the class. These struggles could include difficulties with grasping concepts or difficulties in keeping up with the assignments and homework. If you determine that the class material or homework is a concern for your child, create a supportive system for that class. This support system could include, scheduling extra homework time at home for your child, or additional tutoring outside of class. It could also include talking to the course instructor to determine what other options are offered to support the class. Often, teachers will allow before or after school study and guidance in their classrooms that can help.
After opening the line of communication, creating a plan, and offering additional support, you notice your child is still struggling with attendance you could create an incentive plan. While incentives should be used sparingly or as a final option, they can often help your child have a simple reason to attend. Of course, point out to your child that the most important reward of attendance is the education they receive. Other times, you may need to come up with an agreement that outlines your expectations and a variety of rewards your child can receive if they meet the requirements. These rewards can include special privileges, outings, or monetary incentives. Whatever you and your child determine are appropriate as well as encouraging.
While your child may occasionally skip a class, noticing a pattern when it comes to a specific class should be dealt with as quickly as possible. If you can open communication, address your concerns, then create a plan together you can quickly turn the problem of truancy around.
A. Lynn Scoresby is the founder and president of www.myfamilytrack.com, www.firstanswers.com, and www.achievementsynchrony.com. He has been a marriage and family psychologist for more than 35 years and published more than 20 books/training programs.