How to deal with a Child that refuses to go to school?
“NO!” The last emphatic thing heard while your child storms up the stairs and slams the door to their room. You are left standing by the door holding a backpack and a lunchbox. You look at the time (8:00) if you don’t leave soon your child will be late again… what do you do…
First consider the reasons why the child doesn’t want to go to school. Do they have a big test that day? Are they having trouble with friends? Many children skip school (either directly or by faking sickness) when experiencing anxiety. Be firm with your child and let them know that skipping school is not an option. Listen to why then don’t want to go to school and try to explain why things aren’t as bad a s they seem. Under no circumstances mention that maybe they could skip, or that they could switch school, or my homeschooled as your child will seize upon that idea and become fixated upon that hope whenever they have a bad day at school.
If anxiety is their trigger for the pre-school meltdown, try to make mornings stress free with very little rush to their day starts out well. If your child point blank refuses to go to school several days in a row, consider contacting the guidance counselor at the school ( if the problem is with a teacher or class) or a therapist ( such as one at the Sachs Center) for your child to learn to deal with their anxiety in a constructive way. Once the child has worked through whatever fear is holding them back from attending school, they will be able to resume as normal. When they do so, it is important to minimize the stress levels associated with returning after an absence (such as make up work).
Some tips to help anxiety-ridden children with school refusal is to break things into manageable parts. A three page paper becomes an outline, and two separate occasions of writing the essay. Homework planners and prioritizing assignment can also aid in minimizing stress. Overall, if your child is very reluctant to go to school, let them talk about what is bothering them, by talking it out, their problems are in the open and can begin to be solved.