School phobia is not uncommon among kids these days. More than 5 % of children all over the world feel anxious about going to school on a daily basis. Sometimes, they outright refuse to go to school. At other times, kids come up with seemingly genuine excuses, by using their young and bright imagination. When your child frequently complains of headache, toothache or intense stomach pain, just when it is time to get ready for school, it's probably time for you to get alarmed. Most children, no matter how endearing, have an imagination that works overtime, when it comes to faking an excuse for not attending school. It is always advisable to get to the root of the matter, if you are facing issues with your child, which are related to school. While your child's behavior might annoy you, do not be too quick to judge him or her. Try to find out why your child is cooking up excuses for not attending school. Here are some reasons why children try to avoid school and some advice on how you could deal with the same.
Bullies At School
While illness is a common excuse for children to stay away from the school, you need to remember that some problems might go beyond physical health. At times the child might avoid school because he faces one or a bunch of bullies there. There may be children who pass mean and nasty comments about your child, which could be hampering his / her self-esteem. Children are extremely sensitive to their environments. They wilt with the heat of harsh comments, much like flowers do in hot and dry conditions. Therefore, always be aware of what your child goes through in school on a daily basis.
Make it a point to communicate regularly with your child. Ask him / her what he / she did in school every day; encourage your child to share his / her experiences with you. In this way, you will be aware of what your child goes through every day. If you happen to know about any bullying issue, visit your child's school and talk to the teacher about it.
Inability To Cope With Studies
The inability to match up to the standard of the rest of the class could cause feels of humiliation to a child. Not being able to excel in studies often leads to an inferiority complex in a child. Due to such psychological and emotional changes, the child often feels nauseous or starts perspiring, when he approaches his classroom. Other symptoms that can tell you your child has school phobia might include giddiness while attending the school assembly or weeping when he / she is awoken in the morning.
Make sure your child completes his homework and all other school tasks on a day-to-day basis. Check his school diary and notebooks yourself everyday to know the progress he / she is making in class. Praise your child's achievements and be gently corrective of mistakes. Encourage your child to be proactive in studies by practicing reading and writing regularly.
Excessive Home Sickness
Home sickness is very common among kids, especially between 2-7 years of age. It is quite possible that your little one is facing the fear of separation from his parents, home, pet and his toys. A toddler often feels the safest when he is in mommy and daddy's lap or embrace! Any place outside his "homely" zone makes him feel insecure, unloved and alienated. Also, school is a place where the child is expected to be responsible and behave in a certain way. Therefore, many times children who are overly pampered at home might feel terrified to be in this kind of an atmosphere.
Let your child be independent from the very beginning. Do not smother him / her by succumbing to all his demands, all the time. Encourage him to carry out certain tasks like putting his plate into the sink, arranging his school-bag, eating his meals on his own, etc.
Unsound Physical Health
You cannot expect a child to be enthusiastic about school if he is battling health problems. Ailments like bronchitis, viral fever, frequent colds, flu, sore gums and other health issues, obstruct a child's productivity. It could be that these reasons are preventing your child from wanting to attend school.
Get your child checked at a health clinic every month or so to make sure there are no health or fitness problems. Also, take care that he / she follows hygienic habits, eats clean food and wears properly washed and disinfected clothes. Avoid feeding your child excessive junk food. Also, get your child medical treatment if he is sensitive to a particular kind of allergen.
Over Attention and Sympathy
It is very essential that you do not give excessive attention to your child. If your child is suffering from a minor toothache or upset stomach, you will only be making things tougher from him / her in the long run if you shower loads of sympathy over him / her. Do not make your child emotionally weak by smothering him with too much sympathy. Your child might well develop the tendency to exploit your love for him, and might start manipulating you, emotionally. And, the atmosphere in school is never so tender, which would then naturally repel the child.
Do not always feel sorry for your child if he is ill or is facing some emotionally distressing situations, because these are part of growing up. Never encourage in your child, the feeling of being a martyr, and make sure he / she does not develop self-pity. This attitude could prove to be really destructive for your child's development.
School Is Boring, Home Is Fun!
Another reason why your child makes excuses to avoid school could be that he finds the school mundane. Home is considered to be a place of fun and entertainment to kids. Many of these little ones think that something really exciting happens at home while they are away. This makes them want to escape from studies in the classroom and stay back at home to be a part of the merry-making.
If you feel your child is faking illness, make it clear to him that not going to school does not exempt him from studies. He would have to do his regular sessions of reading, writing and practicing numbers if he stays at home.
Michael Marchetta is a blogger for Love and Logic. He likes to contribute his knowledge on Family and parenting. In free time he likes to take questions directly from parents and educators and use their parenting instincts they already have.