Back to school time is sometimes absolutely torture for kids and their families due to school anxiety. The anxiety may be due to issues with friends, academic issues, pressure to succeed, or the feeling of the unknown of what may happen. This anxiety triggers the flight or fight response in the brain. This is when parents see either kids yelling at them and refusing to attend school or laying in bed refusing to get up. It can also show up as the constant text messages parents receive begging to be picked up early or bargaining with parents to go in late.
Many parents overlook how intense the anxiety may be because they think their child just doesn’t want to go to school. On occasion a kid may just want a day off but when it’s a constant battle something else is going on. School is social, if there isn’t an issue then they most likely wont fight going.
Other times the child seems fine at school but the moment they get home they explode. Parents accidentally take this as a direct attack on them and a sign of oppositional kids. The reality is some kids are trying so hard to hold it together at school that when they get home they just let loose. Home is their safe place and they know their parents love them no matter what. Thats why they explode at home. Instead of getting upset or taking it personally start a conversation about what was so difficult about the day.
If your kid is struggling make sure that you are there to listen. Make sure they are eating a protein filled breakfast, getting good sleep, and are organized as much as possible. Give them some lavender oil to breathe and when they are in a positive mood have them write a list of what they do enjoy about school so they can read it in the morning. Breathing techniques are also helpful for when kids are experiencing anxiety.
The occasional day off to take care of their mental health is fine, however if your child starts trying to refuse school its imperative to make sure that does not happen. The longer a child doesn’t attend school the harder it is to get them back.
Therapy is also helpful with school anxiety. This helps logically look at fears and be able to find other thought patterns to replace negative ones. They can also learn coping techniques to help with anxiety when needed. Reach out if you think your child needs to talk and please parents remember just because it’s happening now doesn’t mean it will be like this in the future. Some parents are concerned that school behavior determines whether or not their kid will succeed in life. The reality is that schools are square holes and not everyone is a square peg.