The moment children start school, they are bound to experience many new things, away from the comforts of home. For children attending school for the first time, parents usually take measures so that a child can adjust in his new environment. Even older children may have some kind of transition every time school starts. While these may be expected, children still go through numerous challenges even after they have gotten used to their new routines.
There are many reasons why a child may suddenly avoid going to school. They may be afraid of failure, or they may have problems with their classmates. They may also view their teachers negatively, or they may be bullied in school. If a child is dealing with these issues, he may avoid going to school.
School avoidance or school refusal, occurs to as many as 5 percent of children. A child with school issues may frequently complain of headaches, stomachaches, nausea, vomiting, and other unexplainable symptoms. These usually occur during school days, and a child may not feel the symptoms during weekends. When examined by a doctor, these symptoms usually do not have any underlying cause.
If your child has issues at school, openly communicate with your child so you can determine the cause. Be supportive, and do not disregard your child’s fears. For a child, his fears can be real, and he may need help on how to overcome these. Reassure him that there are other kids who are also going through similar situations, and he should not think of himself as a failure. If your child is being bullied, or if he has problems with his teacher, talk to the school staff regarding his issues, so that necessary arrangements can be done.
Parents should also ensure that a child who stays at home is safe, but he should not get weekend privileges like watching television, or having friends over. School day rules need to be imposed, and he should not get any special treats by staying home. If he is too bothered by his symptoms, then he should stay in bed.
If your child still complains of symptoms after consultation, explain to your child that he is in good health. Let him know that his symptoms may be due to the anxiety he may be feeling. Do not try to discuss his symptoms during school mornings. It may only reinforce his belief that he is not well enough for school. Provide plenty of reassurance, but be firm in getting your child back to school. The longer that your child stays at home, the harder it will be for him to go back to school.
It can be difficult to encourage your child to go back to school when he feels that he doesn’t belong, or he is not all safe. However, parents can greatly help a child so he can cope with these challenges. Although school mornings may be a struggle, things can get better in time. Once your child is back to his normal routine, promote independence and encourage your child to join clubs, and other school activities that can foster socialization.
While some parents may try to manage school avoidance on their own, parents should never let their guard down, for any symptom that child may complain about. Proper evaluation is still needed, so that any physical cause can be determined. If your child still refuses to go back to school after a week, seek consultation so that proper treatment can be recommended.