‘School refusal’ refers to the behavior exhibited when the child doesn’t want to go to school because of anxiety. It doesn’t end up in a calm conversation between you and your kid. Instead, there is usually crying, panicking and yelling demonstrated by your child.
It can happen abruptly, or can start gradually. It is usually caused by separation anxiety but there can be other issues like social problems at school or any phobia. This issue can usually be tackled with, with the right ways. But if the symptoms prolong for a month or more then you must get a proper diagnostic assessment for your kid.
Are you disoriented and don’t know what to do because your child doesn’t want to go to school because of anxiety? Well, here are the major solutions to your problem.
Also Read: What Do Kids Want From Their Parents?
Understanding the issue
You have to first identify the actual issue. If your child doesn’t want to go to school because of anxiety, then they must be facing any of the following issues:
- Separation anxiety
- Stress at school
- Dispute between peers and family
- Issues with a teacher
- Stress from moving to a new place
Picking and dropping your child from school
Yes, it is helpful to pick and drop your child from school yourself in the initial times. It surely helps with their anxiety. You can add the following gestures to this strategy to help the situation get better if your child doesn’t want to go to school because of anxiety:
Talking to your child
While talking to your child, you must stay calm and don’t act stressed out. Use direct statements, do not invalidate our child’s feelings, and tell them that you will always be there for them. Let them know that you are not leaving them.
Don’t make the drop-off too quick
Your child will be afraid if you suddenly sneak off. Fran Walfish, Psy. D, child and family psychotherapist says “It can take up to ten weeks for a child to be fully ready to be left at school without her mother”
Children must never be separated from their parents abruptly. It makes them panic. This is one of the biggest reasons when your child doesn’t want to go to school because of anxiety.
Bring a familiar, comforting item
You can give your child a comforting item for them to take to school with them. It can be their favorite toy, a teddy bear or even their favorite storybook. It can provide children a real sense of security in a new place.
Do not compare
“Woah, look at Alex. He’s so calm going to school, he’s not even troubling his parents. Why can’t you be like him?”
Don’t say this to your toddler, don’t compare them to other kids. Some children have to cry in those moments to work their feelings through.
It is one of the reasons your child doesn’t want to go to school because of anxiety.
Initiate a ‘goodbye custom’
It provides security and familiarity, so your kid knows what’s to come. This could be anything including a hug, a handshake, a physical gesture.
Remember to say words like “See you later, sunshine!” so that they know that you’re going to be there for them soon. It will help when your child doesn’t want to go to school because of anxiety.
Make them their favorite food for lunch
It will help your child have something to look forward to. It will make them feel safe and comfortable, and give them delight.
Also Read: School Lunch Ideas For Picky Eaters
Remind them that you came for them
Whenever you’re picking them up from school, remind them that you came back just the way you said you would. One of the prime reasons your child doesn’t want to go to school because of anxiety is their fear of abandonment. They feel like you won’t come for them.
So when you do, comfort them and let them know that you will always be waiting for them.
Consider rewarding them
If your child goes to school calmly and tries to act mature, you must appreciate them and praise their effort. Rewarding them with something will encourage them to continue this calm behavior.
Also Read: Best Toys For 6 Month Old Babies
Leave tiny cute notes for them
Placing a note in your child’s lunchbox or bag would make them feel loads better. You can write cute lines like “I’m so proud of you!” or “I love you!” to help them cope better with their environments
Interact with your child’s teachers
Talk to your child’s teacher. For it will ease your child’s settlement in the new environment, and it will ease you too.
Talk to the school staff for advice and ideas to help cope with this issue. Get to know the school’s attendance policy, and get your child referred to other support staff if necessary.
Initiate child contact with home. Any call, no matter how short, will help your child cope with their feelings.
Effective methods for when your child is at home
Staying patient and calm helps. The visibility of your worry may worsen your child’s anxiety.
Making the home environment a bit boring
Reduce the accessibility to internet, TV, or any other fun activity your child likes. So they don’t feel rewarded for not going to school.
Reduce the amount of attention you give to them
Early bedtime or checked time with you at night will help them realize the consequences of their actions.
Get your child to do the homework for the time being
Make sure that your child doesn’t lag behind because of this issue.
Make them follow a proper sleep schedule
Be calm and direct in your statements and help them adjust to the school timing schedule.
Taking care of yourself
You may get significantly worried and stressed out when your child doesn’t go to school because of anxiety. If you don’t take care of yourself, how can you take care of your child? Remember to:
- Vent out your feelings in a healthy way
- Eat well
- Get enough sleep
Seeking professional help
Remember to seek professional help if this issue persists for several months and your child withdraws from friends, peers, and family.
Also Read: What To Teach a 5 Year Old Kid?
You can manage it!
Knowing all of these strategies, you can surely help get rid of the chaos you and your family faces when your child doesn’t want to go to school because of anxiety. Remember to persevere, be patient, and try your best!
Your child doesn’t want to go to school FAQ
What should I do if my child does not want to go to school because of anxiety?
You could take the following steps if your child routinely refuses to go to school because of anxiety:
- Take them to a counselor and seek treatment for their anxiety
- Try to alleviate their fear by saying assuring things
- Tell them you understand what they are going through and that you would be there for them
- Talk to their peers and teachers and explain to them your child’s condition so that they treat them considerately
- Do not force them or push them too much, instead give them the space to process their emotions.
What are the types of anxieties that may be causing my child’s school refusal?
If ‘my child doesn’t want to go to school because of anxiety’ is a something that you often find yourself stating, there could be various types of anxieties at work;
- Social anxiety: this type of anxiety can make your kid overly self-conscious in social settings. They might constantly worry about how they carry themselves and how they appear to their fellows. It could stress them out majorly and they may even behave strangely which may lead to further embarrassment.
- Separation anxiety: your child may be fearful of separating from during school hours, which might make them want to skip school altogether. People suffering from separation anxiety often have to battle intrusive thoughts of their loved ones being harmed in their absence.
- Generalized anxiety: this type of anxiety covers the above-normal levels of stress that your child may be taking. If your child is generally very uptight and fretful, it is only natural that they are when it comes to school, too.
How to help your child if they are nervous around their peers and teachers?
If your child has trouble approaching their fellows and/or teachers, you could use the following techniques to ease their situation:
- Support your child and encourage them to try to out their worries to the side
- Try role-playing. Pretend to be their teacher or a friend, and tell them to practice some social skills that you may have taught them.
- Give them a squeezable object such as a ball that they could project their stress onto. Squeezing is known to reduce fidgetiness. Other fidget toys may also work.
- Practice the interactions they are about to have, so that they know how to act and don’t brood too much.
- Introduce them to some basic grounding techniques such deep breaths and counting under breath.
Why is my child anxious about going to school?
Many factors could be resulting in the pre-school anxiety in your child, some of them could be:
- Your child gets bullied at school
- Your child has strict teachers who plague them for minor errors
- Your child is under a lot of academic burden and is failing to keep up
- Your child is struggling to fit in and feels isolated at school
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