It can be tricky to get the truth out of our kids. We can ask how they like school or how their day was, but kids may hide what is really going on. Sometimes kids will say everything is OK when they are really having anxiety about their schoolwork, their teacher, their friends, or something else that is school-related.
If you think your child is anxious in some way about school but they are not telling you directly, there are signs you can look out for. Not everything is cut and dry and each child is different, but if you see either of these behaviors from your child, it may be time for a heart-to-heart talk about what may be bothering them and then to take the needed steps to make things better.
Getting to the root of the matter may take time, but you can help your child open up by starting the conversation and offering tools and intervention methods to lessen or get rid of their anxiety altogether.
They Feign Illness
Do you find that your child pretends to be sick before school regularly but they feel great after school and on weekends? It may be more than a case of wanting to play “hooky.” Your child may be having issues at school. Maybe he cannot keep up in class. Perhaps kids are bullying him. He could be afraid to participate in classroom discussions for fear of embarrassment. What if he has no friends? Let your child know he can talk to you about anything. Let him know that all kids have insecurities. You can also talk to his teacher to see if they have any idea what may be causing your child to want to avoid school. The sooner you get to the heart of the matter, the sooner you can help your child regain the desire to get back to school with confidence.
They Don’t Want to Talk About Their Day
For the most part, kids that are happy and excited about school want to tell you about it, especially when they are young. Teens, on the other hand, may want to keep their personal lives private. But if your young child is closed-lipped about their day at school, they could be hiding something. Maybe nobody played with your child at recess or he is getting picked on. It could be that he is having trouble with math or is not able to see the blackboard clearly. Perhaps he thinks the teacher is singling him out. Instead of asking the general question – How was your day? – be more specific. Ask what book he’s currently reading and what his favorite part is. Ask how his friends are and if anyone is planning to get together the coming weekend. The more you get down to the nitty gritty, the better you will be able to assess the area(s) where something may be going wrong and causing anxiety. Talk every day and make sure you are always available for your child to come to you with problems or concerns.
Any tips for AMC parents about dealing with school-related anxiety? We’d love to share your experiences and advice. For more info like this, please visit AMC blogs.
By: Melissa A. Kay