How to Help Children Cope with School Refusal

When children refuse to attend school, it can be frustrating for both parents and teachers. You may be wondering why they are behaving this way. What if kids never want to return to school?

Different children oppose or refuse school in various ways. Based on your observations, here are some suggestions for parents, caregivers, and educators to deal with school refusal.

Do tantrums or crying fits regarding school?
Recognize that the emotions underlying the tantrum are genuine. Suggest that you discuss ideas to improve things when they are calmer.

Make it plain that, while you are supportive and willing to assist with problem-solving, not attending school is not an option.

"I know there's something about school that worries you," you can say. When you can speak calmly again, we can discuss what that is. I'd like to try to assist you in finding a means to make going to school more convenient."

Has school-related meltdowns

Be patient and make it apparent that the child is safe and that you are available to assist. Meltdowns are uncontrollable in children, thus there is nothing you can do to prevent them. When the meltdown subsides, use short, concrete sentences to manage the situation.

"That was a big reaction," you can say. Before we talk about school, let's see if you need a break." Have that chat when everyone is calm and quiet.

Moving forward, you can assist the youngster in developing coping skills and finding more appropriate methods to express feelings of overwhelm.

Becomes fixated on "what if" scenarios

Respond as empathically as possible. Being hooked on negative thoughts can be a reaction to feelings of stress, anxiety, and powerlessness. It's critical to try to calm the child down enough to communicate about what's bothering him.

Then, discuss the distinction between "what if" and "what is." "What if the kids who are mean to me are in my class?" a child might ask. You may say, "What we do know is that your friend Jonathan is in your class."

I'm not going to get dressed in the morning.

School refusal frequently begins first thing in the morning for families. Some children may refuse to dress for school.

Going to school is not an option. Going in your pyjamas, on the other hand, could be. If your child refuses to dress, consider whether it is more important for your child to participate in school or to get dressed. You might have to send your youngster to school in his or her pajamas.

Send a quick email or call to the instructor to explain why your youngster isn't dressed for school. Also, explain to your child that you have no influence over what his or her classmates say about what he or she is wearing.

Will not ride the bus or drive.

At this time, a child's refusal may be interfering with a parent's or caregiver's personal schedule and ability to begin work. Try not to engage at that time.

"I see you're really struggling today," you can say. Let's discuss later, but I'm not going to waste time arguing with you right now while you're so furious."

Later, ask your youngster to try to describe the problem. If you can't discover a quick fix, focus on developing a long-term approach. (Your child's teacher may be able to assist you with this.) You can even develop a behavior contract outlining the benefits of arriving at school quietly and the drawbacks of making it an issue.

"You can't make me"

Recognize that if children refuse to do their homework or go to school and remark, "You can't make me," they are correct.

"You're right," parents can say. I can't make you do it. I also have no influence over how your teacher handles makeup work or grades."

Then, offer to have an open and honest dialogue with them about why they are refusing to perform the job or attend school. Make it apparent that you want to know what's going on and help solve the problem.

Begs to return home

Children may beg to go home after being dropped off at school. This can be difficult for teachers.

Determine what they are concerned about. Some students are concerned that horrible things will happen to their family while they are in school. If this is the case, speak with your child before dropping them off. Inform them that you are safe and explain your plans for the day.

Consider allowing children to text or call home at specific times of the day to check in. A picture of their family or a tiny comfort object might also be useful for younger children.

Praise the effort when kids make it through, even if it's just part of the lesson. Use words that demonstrate your understanding of how significant this achievement is.

"I know how difficult this was for you," you can remark. You should feel proud of yourself for attempting!"


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