Many children have trouble going into school because of anxiety and low mood. For many, school can be overwhelming. They may feel as If they don’t fit in, they have trouble relating to a teacher, they worry about exams, speaking in front of the class or feel anxious about leaving their family. Here are 5 tips that school can use to help your child gradually build up the confidence to go back to school.
Help your child feel that they belong.
School can do this by greeting your child at the gate or front door. A key member of staff can help them feel valued and that they are a member of the school community. School can also offer your child an important job, even if there are only in for a short period of time.
Build key relationships.
This is the most important tip. There maybe a person or people who your child feels safe or comfortable with. If so, taking time to foster a genuine relationship, show interest in things your child enjoys, attend meetings, be a familiar face can give your child a point of contact with your child at school. It can also give your child a reason to go to school in the morning. This is the most important tip because this links with all the other tips in this blog.
Take a flexible approach.
Its incredibly important that schools are flexible in their approach to learning. It is a well known fact that learning takes place when people are relaxed. Children who are off school because of anxiety or low mood need a individualised learning approach. School policies for attendance and behaviour may need to be adapted for your child. It can be really helpful if schools work with your child to develop a learning approach that helps them feel more confident about coming into school. For example, the key adult could ask your child how they would see a reduced timetable and they can work together to implement that.
It is so important to have a good levels of communication between parents, staff and children. If there is a plan in place, it is important for all staff to be aware of and onboard with the plan. This is so a big deal is not made of your child coming back into classes. If communication is good between parents and staff then there should be a reduction in formal letters and demands.
Involve your child throughout the planning process.
No one can make your child go into school, it is human nature to avoid something if you feel anxious. By involving, communicating, really listening to what your child wants, not placing demands, the likelihood of your child going back to school will increase. By listening to what helps your child, what doesn’t work, what their concerns are, what they like and what they don’t like, can help a child more in control. It is best done with the key adult with whom they feel comfortable with and able to speak frankly.
For many children and families, getting back into school can be a real struggle. If your child is experiencing anxiety and low mood. CBT can support your child to work through their problems. For more information on school refusal and of cbt why not get in touch with me on 0161 8831156 or at the booking page.