When Your Child Doesn’t Want to go to School
It is the beginning of October and most schools in the United States are only in week four or five of the new school year. Sleep patterns are being reestablished and parents are finally getting caught up on the mounds of paperwork that must be completed for each child. After the long summer break three weeks may seem like a life time to some young students. Most children approach the new school year with excitement but that initial positive energy may wane as the alarm clock continues to erupt before the break of dawn and the assignments role in.
What if your child decides he already needs a break and doesn’t want to go to school in the morning? Is this normal? What can you do?
Don’t panic. It is a normal reaction some children have to the demanding schedule of the education system. It is very common in children 5 and 6 years old in their first year of school, and for children 10 and 11 finishing up elementary school. Academic requirements and social demands can take a toll on some children.
The most important thing is to get your child to school. Do not let him stay home. (I am using him because it is my youngest son that is currently doing this). Once you allow your child to skip a day of school, it will be harder to get him there the next time he doesn’t feel like going.
Of course, the first step is to talk to your child to discover what the problem is. Don’t be judgmental and don’t do all the talking. Ask open ended questions that don’t lead to just a yes or no answer. Older children may just need to get a problem out in the open and by simply talking it out may feel better and ready to return to school. Younger children may need your help expressing what the problem is.
What if your child complains of not feeling well in order to stay home? How do you know if it is real or a ploy? A visit to the pediatrician may be the best place to start. Your child’s doctor can assist you in determining if there is a true illness or a school avoidance problem. If it is determined there is no illness, remember the symptoms may still be real. Anxiety and stress can cause real biological symptoms. Be emphatic to your child’s complaints. Reassure him or her that the symptoms are due to unpleasant emotions and explain that you are there to help them overcome any problem or fear they have. Show that you have belief in their abilities, strength and the importance of education.