Staying Strong With Attendance

With the winter holidays fading in the distance and several more months before summer break, the excitement of going to school has likely worn off a little. Kids may be more likely to ask for “just one day” at home, but attending school every day is essential for the learning process (and for feeling part of the school community).


Even if being more organized was not one of your New Year’s resolutions, it’s never too late to get everyone involved in preparing for the day ahead. A pre-bedtime ritual of checking the weather forecast and laying out clothes, shoes, and accessories (especially hats and gloves) for the following day can become a soothing part of the nighttime routine and can prevent the sort of last minute “I can’t find my other mitten” drama that stops us from getting out the door.


After many harried mornings running around trying to figure out lunches while getting everyone ready, my kids and I now discuss what they will want the night before so I can pack things that don’t need refrigeration and then make sandwiches, pack yogurts, etc in the morning (which older kids can certainly help with too!). Making a plan the night before for breakfast will also shave some time off morning prep.

If you rely on public transportation, it’s a great idea to have a back-up in case of delays. Making contingency plans with other families (especially when the winter weather looks iffy) will help everyone get to school or get picked up on time. If your kiddo is feeling reluctant about school, going with a friend or two will instantly make it more appealing.

Of course, if your child is under the weather, it may be in everyone’s best interest for him or her to stay home. You can use this guide to determine whether or not he or she should take a day off to recover.

And if your family needs some extra help and is experiencing housing instability or homelessness or if there are other factors leading to your child’s absence (such as bullying), the School District has multiple resources and wants to work with your family to ensure that your child makes it to school safely every day.

You and your child never know what he or she will miss on that “just one day.” It could be a new book, a new friend, or the moment when a new skill finally clicks so make every day count.

Marni Fogelson is the co-chair of Team First Book Philadelphia, a nonprofit with the mission of providing new, diverse, free books to local children in need. She is also a children’s book author and has written for various parenting and design websites and publications. She loves reading to and with everyone in her family, including her dog Sparky (who is a great listener). Discover the amazing work First Book Philadelphia is doing @FirstBookPhiladelphia