There is always a sense of anxiety, whenever we tend to start off with something new, as people are resistant to change. It is more so in the case of young children. School refusal refers to the refusal of children to attend school as a result of emotional distress. This school refusal can wreak a kind of havoc on families.
Elaborate on symptoms a little more and causes -
There are certain symptoms related to the refusal of children to attend schools. They include:
Some of the primary causes include:
How can children be helped to get rid of this problem?
The ideal treatment to help all those children struggling with school refusal includes a team approach. It will be beneficial to have a strong team which includes the class teacher, family and if possible, a mental health professionals. The steps include:
1. Assess: The very first step is to complete medical and psychological examination. Given the fact that school refusal is usually linked to an underlying anxiety or depressive disorder, it is necessary to get to the root of the problem and begin there. This would include both family and teacher questionnaires for interviews.
2. Cognitive behavioral therapy: This is a very structured form of therapy, which helps children to identify their maladaptive patterns of thought and also learn replacement behaviours. It would help children to confront and work through their anxiety.
3. Desensitization in a systematic manner: Those children who struggle with school refusal, need a graded approach to return to school. They can return for a some increased amount of time and then gradually build upon it.
4. Training for relaxation: This is extremely essential for all those children who struggle with anxiety. Some of the relaxation strategies include deep breathing, guided imagery and mindfulness, which kids practice at home and also utilize in school.
5. Plan for re-entry: The treatment team even creates a plan to help children re-enter the classroom. The plan includes contingencies to help the student during anxious moments throughout the day.
6. Routine and structure: Children who are anxious can even benefit from routines at home that are predictable. Establishing healthy sleeping habits and a regular sleep cycle during holidays and on weekends can yield positive results.