How to overcome school phobia for kids?
How to overcome school phobia for kids?
School phobia can cause havoc in families. A lot of time, it comes in the form of tantrum, loud cries, meltdowns which include refusal to leave the home, run down the road to avoid going on the bus or doing physical blows. School phobia isn’t just about a kid whining about not going to school. It can be distressing for the kid and parent, both.
Every schooling year, around 2 to 5% kids refuse to attend school because of depression and anxiety. School phobia is referred to a condition of school refusal which includes mild inclusion of separation anxiety where a child may miss school for weeks or even months because of severe depression. It is severe emotional issue which is stressful and has long term impact on the academic, social and emotional growth of the kid.
Development of school phobia
Though school refusal may crop up overnight, a lot of kids who deny attending schools have quietly been a victim of depression or anxiety for some time before they refuse to go to school. It develops over a time period and may be related to these problems:
Separation Anxiety: A common problem in younger kids, it occurs because of concerned separation from parents or a fear that they will get harmed if they are separated from their loved ones.
Social Anxiety: It also involves performance anxiety. Students suffering from social anxiety are occupied with thought of getting assessed by their peers and adults. They have the problem of being judged all the time.
General Anxiety: Children with general anxiety face excessive depression and worry about all the events and activities of school.
Depression: Depression includes mood swings, irritability, and refusal to follow a normal regime, sleep disturbance and suicidal thoughts.
Some of the signs and symptoms of school phobia are mentioned below:
Children suffering from school phobia are very sensitive and insecure. They should be dealt very cautiously. Some of the signs that your child may be suffering from school phobia are:
- Having frequent health issues like vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, stomach problems.
- Throwing tantrums, being rigid, or showing anxiety signs when away from the house.
- Having high fear of being alone at school, staying irritated all the time in school.
- Having nightmares or trouble going to sleep at night.
- Experiencing symptoms on weekdays and being symptom free on weekends.
- Children with school phobia may avoid going to school for a large time period. They make excuse and resist going to school.
How to overcome school phobia?
The best remedy to help kids struggling with school phobia is a team approach. While kids largely focus on the things they don’t like at school, the underlying truth is that it includes social stress, stress to be separated from a homely atmosphere and loneliness. It is good to have a strong team which comprises of parents, family, school psychologists and class teacher to work it out for the child.
The first step is a full-fledged psychological and medical assessment. Given the fact that school refusal may be linked to depressive order or anxiety, it is important find the root cause for it. You can prepare a questionnaire for interview.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
It is a well-structured therapy which helps kid to acknowledge their maladaptive thought patterns and know about replacement behaviors. Kids learn to confront and fight their fears.
Children fight school refusal requires a graded method to return to school. They may need a small time increment and gradually struggle through it.
This is important for kids fight anxiety and depression. Deep breathing, meditation, guided imagery as well as exercise are relaxation strategies which kids can practice at home for a better day at school.
The treatment team should help the child re-enter the class. Young kids may benefit from arriving early and helping teacher and sitting at the front desk. Kids should have lesser anxious moments in the school. With the help of teacher’s cooperation, a child can spend a complete day at school patiently.
Routine and structure
Anxious kids may require predictable routines. It gets rids of over-scheduling and lowers their stress. With proper morning and evening routine, your child’s mind is at rest.
Deprivation from sleep increases depression and anxiety. It makes it difficult for the kids to get up and prepare for school in the morning. With fixed sleeping habits and a punctual sleeping cycle, your kid will not face such a situation.
They aren’t quick fix for school phobia but with these steps, you can set small growth and prohibit multiple absents. Assess your child’s problem, engage in honest interactions and empathize with your baby to help them fight it.