Child Constantly Late for School? Here's How to Get Them There on Time


  1. What are the consequences of being late for school?
  2. Why is my child always running late for school?
  3. Making mornings more organised

It’s a feeling every parent knows all too well–the frantic rush to get out the door.  🏃 Making sure everyone has their lunches, their homework, their teeth brushed, and the right coat–it’s enough to drive any parent crazy! 

Though the past few years have slowed down the pace of life in many ways, the rush to get the kids to school on time is still a reality. Being late for school is never ideal; however, sometimes things are out of our control. There are many normal reasons to be late for school on occasion, like car troubles, bad weather, or public transport delays. 🚇 That said, chronic lateness can pose real issues for your child’s education as well as set up bad habits for the future. 

Why is your child constantly late for school and how can you prevent it? We’re here to tell you everything you need to know.


What are the consequences of being late for school?


It’s obvious that being late for school means your child could potentially be missing out on important learning. However, there are other consequences of being late for school, too:

  • Most schools have penalties for students who are late more than an acceptable number of times. This could include being banned from attending certain school functions, detention, lower marks, or even writing an essay on being late for class! 📝
  • Arriving late interrupts the flow of the class and is distracting to other students. This can cause your child to be viewed negatively by their teacher, impacting their education.
  • When children are chronically late, teachers and school officials will reach out to parents and guardians to determine what the problem is. This could be in the form of phone calls, emails, or in-school meetings. While important, this can be a nuisance for parents to deal with. 

Apart from these direct consequences, chronic lateness is a bad habit that can cause issues for your child if it continues into adulthood. Teachers are usually much more accepting of lateness than employers! Learning the importance of being on time is an essential life skill.


Why is my child always running late for school?


Most children don’t want to be late for school. If your child is dealing with frequent lateness, it’s likely there is an underlying cause. Here are some of the most common causes, and what to do about them.

Your child isn’t getting enough sleep

We all hit the snooze button a few too many times on occasion and find ourselves rushing to get out the door. However, if you find yourself having to literally drag your child out of their bed most mornings, it’s a good idea to make sure your child is getting enough sleep. 😴

For children who are still young enough to have a bedtime, try to put them to sleep at least an hour earlier for a week, or try other techniques to improve their sleeping pattern. See if that makes it easier for them to wake up on time, and be sure to enforce this new bedtime as best you can.

If your teen is constantly oversleeping, though, it can be a bit more challenging. Teenagers need 8-10 hours of sleep per night, but with school, homework, part-time jobs, sports, and socialising, many teens get much less than that. Though you can’t enforce a bedtime with your teen like you did when they were in preschool, try to implement house rules and habits that will help them get the shut-eye they need. As a family, make bedrooms screen-free and encourage everyone to leave their laptops and mobile phones in the kitchen or living room before turning in for the night. 📱 If your child can’t bear to be apart from their phone, encourage them to use screen-time limiting functions to help them get adequate sleep. 

If your teen is very busy and overburdened and staying up late into the night to get homework done, find ways to free up time in their schedules so they can get enough sleep. Though you want your child to be set up for future success, their rest is more important than a jam-packed CV! Of course, if your child is too tired to get to school on time (or worse, dozing off in class), their academic performance will inevitably suffer, too!

Start by talking with your teen about what you can do to help them get the sleep they need so they can wake up for school on time. No one wants to start the day overtired, and you can help your teen get the rest they need to succeed in school.

Your child is struggling with mental health issues

No parent wants to see their child struggle with mental health issues. Unfortunately, depression and anxiety are still common among adolescents. When living with mental health issues, facing the day can feel like too big a burden to bear, and staying in bed can feel like the only option. If your teen is living with anxiety, they might be so worried about what could happen at school that it paralyzes them and they can’t get ready for school on time. If they live with depression, they may simply not have the mental, physical, or emotional energy to even brush their teeth or put their clothes on. Even if your teen is struggling, they may not want to worry you and instead may come up with lame excuses for being late to school.

While there are many reasons your teen may be slow getting around in the morning, it’s important to be observant of other signs of mental health issues. These can include:

  • Changes in appetite
  • Lack of attention to personal hygiene or appearance
  • Withdrawing from friends or family
  • Irritability
  • Lack of interest in hobbies 
  • Frequent headaches or stomaches
  • Sudden angry outburst

If you suspect your teen may be struggling with their mental health and it’s causing them to be late for school, the first step is to talk with them. Let your child know you love them and want to help them feel better. Speak with your child’s school counsellor to let them know what’s going on, and work together to determine a plan to help your child get through school as they work to overcome their struggles.

In the meantime, be patient with your child as they get ready for school. Do what you can to make it easier for them to get out the door, like laying out their clothes for them and preparing them a light breakfast. You can’t eliminate your child’s pain as you may wish you could, but you can make things easier for them with acts of love and support.

Your child is avoiding something at school

If your child is looking for excuses to be late to school, it’s possible there is something there they are avoiding. Not wanting to go to school could mean there’s an exam they are very worried about, a persistent bully, or a crush who rejected them. Regardless of what the cause is, it’s normal to put off going somewhere you know will bring unpleasant emotions! However, learning how to deal with fear is an important lesson for any child to learn. 

In order to help your child overcome this fear, though, you of course first need to know what it is! Try and get your child to open up about what they are avoiding in school. If they’re worried about an exam, find a way to help them feel more confident and prepared for school. (Tutoring with GoStudent is a great place to start!) If a school bully is making your child want to stay home, talk with your child about ways to deal with bullies, and enlist the help of teachers or other school administrators if necessary.  If it’s a broken heart or a fight with a best friend that’s making your child not want to go to school, consider this an opportunity to teach your child the important lesson of not running from difficult situations. ❤️ 


Making mornings more organised


Even if your child loves school and jumps out of bed every morning, the morning rush can still get a bit hectic and make it hard to get to school one time!

Figure out a morning routine and stick to it. Make things as easy as possible by packing school bags and lunches the night before, and ensure school clothes are laid out, too. In the evenings, do a check-in with your kids to ensure they have everything they need for school, so you don’t end up doing a rushed 7:00 AM trip to the shops to get something for an art project. Set a timer on your phone for the time you need to be out the door to get to school on time, so you can be sure you won’t lose track of time. ⏰ 

Make things easier for yourself, too. Try and get out of bed even 20 minutes earlier to give yourself some time to start your day before the morning craziness sets in. Wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy your coffee in peace and quiet before pushing the kids out the door? ☕ However, don’t be hard on yourself if your morning with the kids is always a bit crazy! It’s a normal part of family life, and getting to school on time can be a challenge. However, by getting to the root cause of your child’s tardiness, you can come up with a plan to ensure that they make it to school on time, and are prepared each day to get the most they can out of school.