School attendance plays a significant role! #AbsencesAddUp

Chronic Absenteeism

We have all been there – kids missing school for one reason or another. Maybe it’s a vacation that just had to happen, sick family members, sick children. Whatever the case may be, generally we have the resources to help our kids stay on track and not fall behind if they miss school. But that simply isn’t the case for everyone.

Chronic absenteeism is an issue that everyone can help to solve. Whether you’re a parent, teacher, community leader, afterschool provider or mentoring provider – it is our duty to help these kids who do not have the resources that they need to keep from falling behind.

New research released by the Ad Council, shows that an overwhelming majority (86%) of parents understand their child’s school attendance plays a significant role in helping them succeed in graduating from high school. However, nearly half (49%) of parents believe it is okay for their child to miss three or more days of school – and that they won’t fall behind academically if they do. In reality, missing just two days per month makes children more likely to fall behind and less likely to graduate.

As early as elementary school, students who miss just two school days each month are more likely to fall behind in reading, writing and math, even if the absences are excused. While some challenges to a child’s attendance are unavoidable, it’s important to understand the impact of each absence.

Chronic Absenteeism

A student is chronically absent if he or she misses only two days of school per month (18 days per year). Even one year of chronic absence can cause a child to fall behind academically and decrease a child’s chances of graduating from high school, which can have long-term consequences on their financial independence, physical well-being and mental health.

Key Takeaways for Parents

  • Every absence matters.
  • Absences matter as early as elementary school.
  • Absences matter whether they are excused or unexcused.
  • Students who miss just two days of school each month, or 18 days in a year, are more likely to fall behind in reading, writing and math and less likely to graduate from high school.

Tips and Suggestions

  • Keep track of how many days of school your child has missed.
  • Figure out why your child is absent from school.
  • Are they dealing with a chronic illness like asthma?
  • Are they being bullied or struggling at school?
  • Are they staying home to help care for a family member?
  • Visit to find help addressing the underlying cause of your child’s absences.
  • Ask teachers and community leaders for advice and specific resources in your area.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to other parents in your area to ask for help and share tips.

Chronic Absenteeism

Parents can prepare their children for a lifetime of success by making regular school attendance a priority and understanding the reasons for their child’s absences. Learn more and find help at

Please get the word out to friends, family, co-workers and others!

Facebook: 2 Absences Per Month = Less Likely to Read at Grade Level 2 absences per month = less likely to read at grade level by the end of 3rd grade. Visit to learn about what you can do to help kids succeed in school, and in life. #AbsencesAddUpp #MyBrothersKeeper

Twitter: 2 absences per month = less likely to read at grade level by the end of 3rd grade. #AbsencesAddUp

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19 Responses

  1. Great tips! I was sort of lucky for some reason. My daughter hated missing school, so she would do anything not to miss. Let’s just say Ill forward this to my best friends daughter 🙂

  2. Elizabeth O says:

    These are excellent tips! I hope that parents who have absentee kids will take the advice and use it.

  3. Vera Sweeney says:

    It is so true how much an absence can make a difference!! I hadn’t seen this research amazing the difference it makes!

  4. Mary says:

    I think this truly depends on the student. I was someone who picked things up easily, and I Missed a lot of school. I never got a grade below a B+ even though I missed at least 21 days a year and alternated coming in late and leaving early.

  5. Carrie says:

    I think this really depends on what the absence is for. For example when our kids get older I know we will be pulling them out of school to travel to the States (during off times) to visit friends and family. Why one it is cheaper for us in the long run and two because the educational value of them visiting a different culture will add to their overall education. I also think this depends on the education system. Here in Norway I don’t think that statistic applies. The country as a whole is educationally prepared for university much more than other countries in the world for example the US. They attend school less often during the year than the US and have shorter days. However 47% of the population has at least a Bachelor’s degree. This statistic doesn’t include those with professional degrees such as electricians, plumbers, etc.

    I do believe attendance is important I do not believe it is everything.

    • SavingCmnCents says:

      I completely agree with you! School attendance should be a priority, but when it comes to trips, outings, family time, and other ways to further learning, I think that is just as important. Not everything we learn is in a classroom setting. 🙂

  6. Crystal says:

    Illness hit hard last year and my middle child missed almost 10 days of school. I definitely saw a difference after a string of absences. It’s hard to catch up and stay in the swing of things.

  7. Cynthia says:

    This is a statistic that I was unaware of. I homeschooled my daughter, so I guess I was clueless to what was going on in schools. I find it so sad that it is so easy for kids to fall behind. School should be a safe place for kids to go so that can learn to their best ability.

    • SavingCmnCents says:

      I think there are so many opportunities to learn and they don’t require a classroom setting at all. Homeschooling can be a great option for families!

  8. Neely Moldovan says:

    OUr schools growing up always gave huge incentives for perfect attendance and I think it made me never want to miss. I had a friend who never missed a day K-12! Crazy!

  9. Jolina says:

    I was a sickly child so (although I don’t remember exactly) I may have missed a few days in school. Which I think cannot be helped? I remember I had to do lots of make-up work. My parents helped a lot for sure.

  10. Liz Mays says:

    I didn’t realize how much of an impact just a few absences could have. This is shocking!

  11. Erlene Amat says:

    The schools here send lots of reminders when the kids miss school and will even let you know when your child is considered truant from too many absences. My kids know that school attendance is important, so they only stay home if absolutely necessary.

  12. Tamara says:

    It’s tough. I’m so neurotic about my kids getting to school, but all the viruses this time of year are tough. My son is in daycare/preschool so he can miss school, but I hesitate to ever take my seven-year-old out of school. I don’t like her to fall behind.

  13. I email my son’s teachers weekly to stay up to date. Itis very important.

  14. Shirley Wood says:

    I couldn’t agree more. It’s so important to go to school. There are children in disadvantaged countries who would love to go to school. My husband had perfect attendance through elementary school and most of high school. He had perfect attendance at work for 7 years. It’s amazing how some people can make it happen.

  15. It is so important to stay in touch with the teachers. With all the access we have today, getting the info we need and info we need to share is not difficult. These are great tips and ways to make it easuer for us when our kids are absent. Thanks

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