Is your child refusing to go to school? Are they are so reticent to start
the day that getting them to school on time is a constant struggle? When
your child is not enjoying school, it can make things difficult for the
whole family. The first thing to realize is that you are not alone and
that most students go through this at some point in their academic careers.
While the cause of these bad school mornings can be fairly innocent like
not having done homework or the desire to avoid gym class, you must be
prepared to take action should the behavior persist.
Causes of Absenteeism
When students don’t want to go to school, or are so slow in getting
ready that they make you late or if they are constantly beset with imaginary
symptoms, there may be a more serious underlying cause. When students
start to fall behind academically, they can feel overwhelmed, lose confidence
and feel embarrassed. This can be seriously detrimental to their ability
to grow and develop.
Bullying by teachers or other students can also cause your child to feel
enormous anxiety about going to school. From simply dreading each day
to a phenomenon called school phobia, your student’s fears should
be taken seriously and addressed so that they can have a happier, healthier
One of the biggest hurdles to resolution is that students are often not
able to verbalize their fears. They may be too embarrassed or afraid or
maybe they fear that you will take action that could embarrass them in
front of their peers. One clue that can help is the level of anxiety that
your child displays when they have to go to school. Anxiety can manifest
in different ways from being overly emotional to physical symptoms such
as stomach aches or headaches. Moodiness and loss of appetite are also
side effects of anxiety and since you know your child best, these should
be easy to pick up.
Of course you need to speak with your child first and ask them specific
questions. If you find them unresponsive, try to address their fears of
public embarrassment or retribution. If they remain tight-lipped, speak
with their teachers. Teachers are a great resource here because they have
a much better understanding of what goes on at school.
Give it time. If your child needs to take a break, discuss this with their
teacher and principal to find a schedule that will keep them up to date
with school work. If bullying is the culprit, most school have plans in
place to work with the students to resolve these issues.
If the problem is academic, consider getting an
in-home and online tutor to help your child catch up and keep up. Tutors who work one-to-one will
help them to fill in the missing building blocks in their academic knowledge
while teaching study and organizational skills that will help them to
become effective independent learners.
If you child does stay home for a while, don’t make it a fun experience.
They must work during school hours and there should be no TV or internet.
Be patient and caring when your child doesn’t want to go to school.
Use the amazing resources that teachers and school councilors provide
so that you can encourage your child to have a positive academic experience.
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