Attendance Makes A Difference In A Child’s Life

by | Feb 21, 2021 | Family, Mental Health, Parenting with Purpose, School

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by Dr. Kim Grengs, Parent Coach

Boy at desk writing - attendance makes a difference

Does attending school daily impact a child’s life? Yes! Attendance makes a difference in a child’s life  and  in school. It affects students’ academic and social emotional learning in many ways. Chronic absenteeism is detrimental to the success of all children in many aspects. The lack of attendance prohibits children from being engaged in their learning, gaining basic social skills and learning essential skills for life.  Being present in school all day provides children with the foundation needed for subsequent learning.

Academic Effects:

When a child attends school daily there are many important skills learned.  Reading, writing and arithmetic are just a few that suffer from chronic absenteeism.  During a child’s early years in school they are learning basic academic skills critical for their success in later years. These skills in reading, writing and arithmetic create a foundation for subsequent learning. 

  • Greater absenteeism in kindergarten showed lower academic achievement in reading and math. 
  • Children missing 10% or more of the school year scored an average of five points less than those that were absent 3%.
  • Only 21% of middle school students that missed more than three days a month scored at or above grade level while 45% of middle school students that missed no days of school. 

Social Emotional Effects:

We have learned  how important social emotional learning is to a child’s overall well being.  When a child is absent from school they lose out on the connections with students and their teacher. They lack the ability to socially interact positively with other students, self-control which causes them to be less mature than their peers. Children need connections to build relationships. With chronic absenteeism a child loses out on structure and the time it takes to build trust with others. This constant disruption creates anxiety and stress in a child’s life. 

  • Did you know that over half of chronic absenteeism in kindergarten students were also absent in first grade?
  • More than 6.5 million or 13% of children in the United States miss 15 days or more of school each year.
  • Chronic absenteeism is a predictor of school failure more so than test scores.

Reasons for Chronic Absenteeism:

Factors that may cause a student to have chronic absenteeism include: 

  • Unstable housing situations.
  • Poor parental health
  • Inadequate health care
  • Poor school experience
  • Transportation Issues

Attending School:

What skills do students learn from attending school daily?  There are many skills that provide students with the tools to be successful in life by attending school daily. They learn responsibility and the importance of showing up and being on time.  Furthermore, they learn the foundation skills in their academics and how to use different strategies to problem solve by socially interacting with their peers. More importantly, they learn how to build relationships with others outside of their family. Attendance makes a difference in a child’s life.

Students Need:

  • To be present to learn. 
  • To attend school daily to succeed.
  • A connection with peers and teachers.

Break the Cycle:

In order to break the cycle of chronic absenteeism it takes many people. These people include the parents, school staff and possibly support from the county.  By connecting these people and creating an action plan to support the family the cycle can be broken. It does take everyone on the team to focus on the needs of the family diligently to make a difference. Therefore it is worth every minute to get the student to attend school in a daily manner.  


  1. Provide clear guidance on what is considered excused and unexcused.
  2. Talk about the effects of chronic absenteeism on school performance and wellness.
  3. Praise parents when students attend school regularly.
  4. Provide parents with phone numbers and the correct staff to connect with when they have questions on attendance.
  5. Schedule weekly or biweekly meetings with the team to provide support.

If you are wondering what the attendance policy or procedure is for your child’s school or the county you live in look online or call the school district’s main office. Attendance makes a difference in a child’s life.

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children boarding school bus - attendance makes a difference
Taking the school bus helps students get to school on time.

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