“As much as 28% of school aged children in America refuse school at some point during their education. School refusal behavior is as common among boys as girls. While any child aged 5–17 may refuse to attend school, most youths who refuse are 10–13 years old. Peaks in school refusal behavior are also seen at times of transition such as 5–6 and 14–15 years as children enter new schools.”
– NYU CHILD STUDY CENTER
Does your child often wake up with a headache, sore throat or stomachache especially during school tests or after weekends and holidays?
Then these may be the symptoms of school refusal – a condition when a child develops school phobia or fear of attending school.
A school-goer may refuse the school to avoid anxiety or depression caused by school-related objects or situations; to escape academic performance situations including test-taking or oral presentations; or to seek pleasure in activities outside school.
Parenting Help: How to Instill Positive Discipline
Parents can play a crucial role in inspiring children to deal with school phobia. First of all, encourage your child to attend school regularly as missing school elevates anxiety rather than alleviating it.
The following tips can help:
- Increase the exposure to school slowly and gradually in small degrees. Make sure he feels comfortable every time he attends school. Eventually, he starts realizing that there is nothing to fear about the school.
- Understand the feelings and fears that is keeping your child far from the school and find ways to help her get rid of them. For example, if your child skips school due to inferiority complex, boost her confidence and help her realize that she is no less important than others.
- Highlight the positive aspects of attending school such as making new friends, playing the favorite game, learning an interesting subject, and becoming successful.
- Meet with your child’s teacher or school guidance counselor to induce positivity and wisdom in children.
- Encourage the hobbies and interests your child find fun and solace in. It not only keeps the child engaged but also builds his self-confidence.
- Establish a support system for your child within family and friend-circle. It allows the child to discuss her problems and reasons of anxiety hence helping you find an effective way to deal with the same.