It can be easy to take for granted when a child gets up and gets ready for school with no complaints. Off they go waving goodbye as they smile and go off with their friends. However, for some children this easy task is extremely distressing and complicated. School avoidance often starts with a sense of hesitation or nervousness about attending school but can end up with days of missing school or leaving school early. Resistance to attend school can show up in a variety of ways such as:
Your child may experience one of these behaviors or all of them. School avoidance from a parents perspective is exhausting. Parents are often struggling with bargaining, yelling, demanding or allowing 1 more day home with a promise of getting up tomorrow. All of this while trying to get to work on time, it can feel so hard to manage. There are many variables that contribute to school avoidance these include:
When children struggle on a daily basis to get to school it’s super important that you work on trying to figure out what the problem is and implement a strategy immediately. The more school avoidance goes on the higher risk of impact on social isolation, lack of academic progress, and mental health issues.
Here are idea’s to help get to bottom of what is the source of the problem.
These informal assessments give you a chance to help your child figure out what the problem is and then together decide what strategies to implement. Avoiding school will not help them with their problem solving skills, it only reinforces the power of fear.
Partnering with the school is also another important aspect of prevention and intervention for parents.
It is important for parents to emphasize to the child that you will help them work through the problem and that they have to go to school. Daytime is school time and so whether the child is missing one day of school or 1 week the following apply:
This is not an easy task. School avoidance is one of the most difficult issues that I help parents with. If you’re feeling overwhelmed as a parent reach out to a therapist that has experience with helping children with school avoidance. New Jersey Counseling Association will be having their annual 2019 spring conference and on April 14th, 2019 I will be addressing this topic for professionals who work with students who struggle to attend school. If you are a professional and want more information on my workshop check out this link https://www.njcounseling.org.
Stayed tuned for my next article on how to implement exposure based cognitive behavioral therapy for kids who have difficulty attending school.
ROSE LAPIERE, LPC, RPT-S, ACS