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Child Doesn’t Want To Go To School Because of Anxiety – What To Do?

‘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:

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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.

Also Read: Stranger Anxiety in Toddlers – All You Need to Know

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.

Also Read: Why Ignoring the Emotional Needs of a Child Can Be Traumatic?

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.

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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

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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.

Also Read: Authoritative Parenting Style – Is It Beneficial In The Modern Era?

Effective methods for when your child is at home

Staying calm

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.

Also Read: How To Save Your Child From A Bad Home Environment?

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.

Also Read: How To Choose The Best Primary School For Your Child?

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
  • Meditate
  • Exercise
  • Get enough sleep

Also Read: Best Tools to Improve Vocabulary in Primary School?

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!

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Dr. Syed Ahmad Raza
Dr. Syed Ahmad Raza

Medical Officer at Ammar Medical Complex, Founder at Therightparenting and Owner and Founder at OOPER with Syed Ahmad Raza

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