• Behavior
  • Education
  • Parenting

Kids need to be at school on time, every day, to learn

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Row of school buses

In this article, you’ll find answers to questions like:

1. What's the impact of absences?
2. What's behind absences?
3. How to avoid absences?

Some parents may wonder, "What’s the big deal if my child shows up late or misses a few days of school a month?"

But what they may not realize is school attendance is essential to academic success. Absences can lead to trouble, according to Attendance Works, a national initiative focused on raising awareness about the importance of attendance.


Did you know that 1 in 10 kindergartners and first-graders are chronically absent? Missing 10 percent of the school year, or just two to three days every month, can cause children to fall behind. That can lead to third-graders unable to master reading, sixth-graders failing courses and ninth-graders dropping out of high school.


For young children, problems getting to school — every day, on time — may be a factor of family dynamics. Older students, who may have struggled to keep up with their peers in the early years, tend to give up. This can be especially true for teens who miss a lot of school for reasons beyond their control, like those who are caring for a sick relative or teens in foster care.


  • Establish and stick to basic routines.
  • Try to get your kids to bed early. That will help them wake up on time.
  • Explain to your child why punctual attendance is important.
  • Think of a back-up plan to help you get your child to school, on time, if you encounter a problem — like if another child is sick or if your car breaks down.
  • Ask for help from your child's school if you're having problems getting your child to school every day.
  • Stay in contact with teachers so that if your children do need to miss school, they can easily catch up on their work.


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