Is your child afraid to go to school? Many young children are. In fact, it’s estimated that 1 to 5 percent of children experience school phobia at some time. Although quite common, it can be very difficult for both the child and parents. The good news is, kids are able to overcome it and you can help by knowing the signs.
Common School Anxiety Symptoms
Children with school anxiety symptoms may exhibit any of the following:
- Frequent physical ailments including stomach aches, nausea, diarrhea or fatigue without a diagnosed medical cause
- Tantrums or clinginess
- Excessive fear of being alone or other irrational fears
- Difficulty sleeping and frequent nightmares
- Experience symptoms on school days yet symptom-free other times
How to Deal with School Anxiety in Young Kids
Children with school phobia may resist going to school for extended periods of time over many days. This is very common and typically goes away with comfort measures, time and a feeling of independence. Ways that parents can help include:
- Talk with your child. Ask open-ended questions rather than ones that require a yes/no answer.
- Identify obstacles. Determine if issues like poor academic skill or a fear is an underlying cause of the anxiety in young children.
- Offer reassurance. Remind your child it will be okay and don’t show signs of your own worry or concern.
- Provide an ally. Find a teacher or trusted adult at school who can serve as a source of support. Also consider giving the child a reminder of you to take with them to school, like the HUGGEE MISS YOU plush dolls that let you include a photo and recording.
It can be a difficult experience for everyone when a child is scared to go to school. With an open line of communication, support and understanding, you can make the school experience less stressful and more enjoyable.