It is normal for children to develop separation anxiety at a younger age.
Children between 18-24 months may cry, throw tantrums, and exhibit other illogical behaviors when separated from their parents.
However, children with school phobia become suddenly ill, irrationally anxious, scared, or depressed at the mention of school.
As a parent, knowing how to help your child deal with school phobia can be challenging; however, with the right techniques, you can make it happen.
One way to support your child is to look into the possibility of them having a legitimate illness.
One of the symptoms children with school phobia exhibit is frequent complaints of stomachache, headache, exhaustion, or an illness.
While it might seem your child is simply overreacting to avoid school, it is essential to look into it to eliminate the possibility.
Also, a school environment can be intimidating for socially anxious kids.
They can feel extremely self-conscious, nervous, and scared to make mistakes, especially when engaging in activities with their peers.
As a result, they might want to avoid school or participation in social activities.
You can help your socially anxious child by teaching them social skills and introducing them to child therapy if the situation persists.
Similarly, it is essential to talk to your child to know how best you can help them overcome their school phobia.
There are various reasons children persistently refuse to go to school, and forcing them without inquiring about their reason can be detrimental to their mental well-being.
Consider this overview to learn about five amazing techniques to help your child deal with school phobia:
Sometimes children may exhibit symptoms showing they are too sick for school.
In such cases, forcing the child to attend school is not advisable as they could contaminate others and worsen their health condition.
To help your child deal with school phobia, look into the possibility of them having a legitimate illness.
When your child complains of being too ill for school, you can ask them direct questions to know if they are being honest.
If there are no obvious symptoms, you can ask them to describe how they feel or point to the part of the body that hurts.
If your child can directly answer your questions, they might genuinely have an illness that should be attended to.
Also, you can check for noticeable symptoms of an illness.
If they are burning up or vomiting regularly, visit your child's pediatrician immediately for a proper diagnosis.
The physician will be able to test your child for any illness and prescribe appropriate medications for them.
Many severe illnesses have common symptoms like fever, nausea, or cold, making it difficult for parents to know the right time to react.
If your child has persistent symptoms or you have a gut feeling something is wrong, do not hesitate to visit a pediatrician as they could be dealing with a severe illness.
While some children may exhibit irrational behaviors just to stay at home to play, other kids may have genuine reasons they don't want to attend school.
Factors including academic difficulty, traumatic school experiences, relationships or lack of one, or even bullying could cause persistent refusal to attend school.
To help your child deal with school phobia, communicate with them to understand their reasons.
You can start by asking them relevant questions that would prompt them to share their feelings with you.
Rather than simply asking them why they refuse to attend school, you can ask about what emotions they feel at school, what makes them sad/happy, or what class is difficult for them.
Questions of this sort will lead to a deeper conversation with your child and prompt them to share what the problem is.
Likewise, you must be empathetic and understanding to your child to encourage them to communicate with you.
If your child knows you are likely to get angry or punish them, they might be discouraged from talking to you.
Show sympathy in your body language and tone and constantly reassure them that they are in a safe place to discuss their feelings.
When a child's school phobia isn't addressed early, it could escalate into several problems, including poor academic performance, social inadequacy, panic attacks, and anxiety.
It can also negatively impact their mental well-being.
Children with poor social interaction skills may find it difficult to maintain friendships at school.
Unfortunately, loners in school are easily picked on, teased, and bullied, making them susceptible to developing school phobias.
To help your child deal with school phobia, you can teach them social skills to make it easier for them to interact with people in a social environment.
You can start by practicing talking with your child at home.
Have conversations with your child throughout the day where you talk to them, allow them to respond, and pay attention when they do.
Likewise, through storytelling or roleplay, you can practice talking with your child and prepare them for social interactions.
Also, it would help if your child understood the importance of body language.
Fidgeting, avoiding eye contact, or using negative facial expressions can make it difficult for children to interact with peers, even when they do it unintentionally.
Teach them instead to smile and talk confidently.
Most of the behavioral traits children exhibit are learned from home.
As parents, you can teach your child kindness, sympathy, confidence, self-control, teamwork, and responsibility by exemplifying them.
Some children struggle with learning difficulties, fear of failure, poor athletic ability, peer bullying, sensitivity to school activities, or toilet issues which may make them reluctant to go to school.
As a parent, you can help your child deal with school phobia by addressing the difficulties they may be experiencing at school.
Often, children experience learning difficulties, including fear of being asked to answer a question or read aloud, inability to communicate due to speech difficulty, or receiving poor grades.
You can address the situation by speaking to your child's teacher or principal to develop a plan to help with your child's learning difficulty.
Also, you can help your child build their self-confidence.
Identify school activities that bring your child fear and anxiety and gradually help them overcome them.
Likewise, you can Identify their strengths and provide opportunities to develop them.
Achieving goals and developing talent improves a child's self-confidence and self-image.
Similarly, it is paramount to look out for signs your child is being verbally harassed or abused in school, as these could make them develop school phobia.
It can be difficult for children to handle intense emotions.
Challenging situations at school can cause a child to feel intense emotions such as fear, anxiety, or sadness, which may worsen their school phobia.
To help your child deal with school phobia and challenges they might face later on in life, they need to learn adequate coping skills.
One way to develop your child's coping skills is by teaching positive self-talk.
When things don't go as planned, it is easy for negative voices to creep in and cause fear or self-doubt.
Teaching your child to practice positive self-talk will train their brain to think positive thoughts and build their cognitive positive coping skills.
Also, you can teach your child relaxation techniques to manage their emotions.
Practice deep breathing exercises, visualization, progressive muscle relaxation, and meditation at home to prepare them for challenging situations or intense emotions at school.
In addition, teaching your child to recognize and label their emotions is vital to developing their child's coping skills.
Let your child know it's okay to be upset or a little anxious.
They can only learn to cope with their emotions when they can recognize and validate what they feel.
Dealing with your child's school phobia can be challenging, and changes might not happen overnight.
However, by employing the right techniques to support your child and address the situation, you can gradually help them overcome their school phobia.
If perhaps your child's school phobia becomes unmanageable, it is crucial to seek professional help and get child therapy to help your child.
You can help your child deal with school phobia by teaching coping skills, assisting with school difficulties, teaching social skills, practicing healthy communication, and eliminating the possibility of them having a legitimate illness.
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