Episode 2: “I don’t want to go to school”

no to school
Photo Credit: doug wilson

Having to deal with another episode of preschooler’s version of “I don’t want to go to school” is the furthest thing from my mind.

Previously this happened to J once. You can read more about that here: What I Did When My Daughter Said, “I Don’t Want to Go to School!”

That was the first episode.

And now, here is the second…

After a 2-week holiday, my preschool son K went back to school like normal. Everything was fine on the first day. But for the rest of the week, he told us he doesn’t want to go to school.

Find the Causes

We tried to find out why. He didn’t (or chose not to tell) say why even we probed further like a policeman.

This usually happens the night before or in the morning right before he goes to school. But when I fetch him after school and I ask him if he wants to go to school, he always gladly answers, “Yes!”

It goes on for the rest of the week. And that really confuses me whether K is interested in the school or otherwise.

The only thing he told us was he vomited in school after tasting mushroom soup and some biscuits. I guess he has phobia having school food from then on.

Not until Friday that he started to be open and frank to us why he doesn’t want to go to school. He shared with me the reason before he was driven to school by my wife. He told me that he feels nauseating when he is in school.

I asked him, “All the time in school?”

“Yes,” he replied.

“I will talk to the teacher to see if we can do anything about the classroom.” I said, “Or find out anything that causes stuffiness.”

I also spoke to his class teacher about K’s ordeal. She told us she had spoken to him and he said there was nothing wrong. Not because of the new teacher (K has got Teacher Puvanes as his new teacher just for a week), no fighting with friends, or anything else.

We thought it was caused by a pencil box that was given to him by a friend. It was not given to him actually because K’s friend’s mother requested to have the pencil box back and K had to reluctantly return his well-adored Ben 10 pencil box.

It seems that is not the reason of not wanting to go to school.

During dinner on Friday night, he started to say the same thing again: Daddy, I don’t want to go to school.

I said fine. Why not we do this: After dinner, let’s list down the reasons why you don’t want to go to school and we can come up with solutions together.

Problem Solving

This is a method I learn from my favorite parenting book which, by the way, I recommend highly: How to Talk So Kids Will Listen. But with some changes. Instead of listing down on a piece of paper, I did it on the whiteboard.

We divided the whiteboard into two columns: on the left is marked “Reasons” and on the right is “Solutions.”

Of course, we get everybody involved including J in this problem-solving meeting.

When you show your seriousness in helping your child and make it like a game, K seemed to be more willing to share his problem than before.

He openly shared with us a few reasons why he doesn’t want to go school. On coming up with solutions, my wife and I had to help them kickstart the brainstorming process. After which, J and K started to kick in some real nice suggestions and ideas.

In the end, we omitted the impractical solutions and adopted the good ones.

Reasons for Not Going to School

Here are the reasons K gave for not wanting to go to school. He:

  • feels like vomiting in the school
  • feels hot in the classroom
  • likes the food in school but feel nauseating after eating


Here are the solutions we have come up during the session:

  • ask the teacher to lower the temperature of the air-conditioner
  • ask the teacher to set the fan to a higher speed
  • wear round neck T-shirt to school
  • drink more water to cool down
  • ask teacher’s permission to allow K not to have school food until he is comfortable again to have school food again
  • skip meals in school. K has to take heavy breakfast at home

The problem-solving session has a happy ending and K looks confident and satisfied with the outcome. He keeps reminding us to relay the solutions we have come up to the teacher.

When Monday comes, I will inform the teacher what we have done. And with finger crossed, we hope K will be back to normal and looking forward to school just like before.

Update: A week has passed after the “problem-solving” session. And surprisingly it works. He doesn’t say he doesn’t want to go to school anymore, at least. The only thing that he says is he doesn’t want to have food that is served by the school. Not wanting to let him go hungry, we suggest to K to pack food to school. On some occasions, he does. Even then, he doesn’t eat what he brings. We figure that he has phobia of having food in school since he has had a bad experience of vomiting some 2 weeks ago. And we concluded that might be the reason of this whole episode of “Don’t want to go to school.”

See Also…

Changing Schools for Preschoolers: How We Handled It

How to make school enjoyable

Funny (and Not So Funny) Things Happened in School… and How I Handled Them

First Days in School