What To Do When Your Child has a Bad Day at School

What To Do When Your Child has a Bad Day at School

27 July 2022 • Words by Nanette Botha 2 mins

If you are reading this article, chances are that your child has had a bad day at school before. You likely realize that those days may affect your child significantly, too. Be assured that all children have bad days at school from time to time. But of course, we want to limit those days as far as we can.

Booren, et al. (2012) make it clear that many things happen throughout a child’s day at school, affecting their behavior, interactions, and even their ability to cope. Structured, teacher-led activities may be preferred for some children as it removes the social element of working in groups, perhaps needing to choose partners for a task, and being afraid of being left out. Child-led activities, on the other hand, may provide opportunities for interest-based games and exercises. These would require more consideration for others and conflict management and could be highly stressful for an already anxious child. On top of these classroom-based activities, there are also recess times to navigate and various transitions throughout the day that could make a school day long and overwhelming. When these aspects go wrong, a good or an average day could quickly turn into a bad one.

Regardless of what it may be that caused your child to have a bad day, we need to have ways to support our kids.

What To Do When Your Child has a Bad Day at School:


After having a rough day, one of the best ways to unwind is to choose your favorite Moshi Chill Music, followed by a Moshi breathing exercise.

Listen and do not judge

This is easier said than done. You may find that when your child tells you about something that happened at school, there could be things you know they should’ve done or handled differently. When you become aware of it, keep it in the back of your mind. This is so you can teach your child better coping strategies for the future. However, refrain from pointing out where they went wrong while telling you about it. You don’t want your child to stop sharing with you when they had a bad day for fear of you telling them off.

Let your child know that they can always talk to you

A subtle reminder will usually be good enough to let our kids know you are ready to listen whenever they need to speak to you.

Bring in visuals

Some children find it extremely difficult to initiate a conversation that may involve something they are frustrated with or even embarrassed about. A good idea could be to have a visual with options for your child to indicate how their day was and whether they want to talk about it (yet). You could even have this visual in the car so that it can be utilized as soon as you pick them up after school.

Don’t be afraid to share with your child when your day is not so great. You don’t have to share all the details with them, but let them know what you’re doing to unwind and refocus your energy. It could help them understand that not all days are amazing and there are ways to get through difficult ones.

Booren, L. M., Downer, J. T., & Vitiello, V. E. (2012). Observations of Children’s Interactions with Teachers, Peers, and Tasks across Preschool Classroom Activity Settings. Early education and development, 23(4), 517–538.

Nanette Botha

Educational specialist & mother of 3 young children Co-founder: AIMS Global & Leadership at: Augmental