As Summer Vacation Ends, ValueOptions Offers Five Tips for Helping Children Combat School Avoidance
NORFOLK, Va., Aug. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — As summer draws to a close, ValueOptions® , Inc. recognizes that going back to school–or attending school for the first time–can be stressful for a child. While it’s normal for children to experience nervousness before the first day of class, those who express severe anxiety over school, display physical symptoms like headaches or vomiting, or make up reasons for staying home may be experiencing school phobia.
A fear of school is stressful for both students and parents, but there are ways to ease the anxiety. Here are five tips to help your child make the transition from school-phobic to star student:
- Rule out medical problems first. A visit with the pediatrician should clear up whether your child has a serious physical condition requiring immediate attention.
- Sit down with your child and ask whether there are specific problems at school: is there a bully they want to avoid? Trouble with a certain subject? Are they afraid to leave their family for so long? Isolating a specific source of anxiety will give you a better idea of how to proceed.
- Enlist help! Talk with a teacher or guidance counselor at your child’s school to see whether they have noticed any changes in your child, and figure out ways they can help support your child in school. Siblings and classmates can be a great source of reassurance for children, too–ask them to walk your child to the bus stop, eat lunch with them, or simply lend some words of encouragement.
- Be firm about attendance. Letting your child skip school will not only aggravate the phobia, but prevents them from learning and socializing with their peers.
- While it’s important to maintain your resolve, be compassionate. Children experience anxiety differently than adults, and may face heightened social pressures. Instead of dismissing their fears as silly, work with them to reach a solution that pleases everyone.
If all else fails, don’t be afraid to speak with a professional. Rich Paul, Senior Vice President, Customer and Product Strategy Officer, suggests putting your health plan to work for your family: “Many workplaces offer employee assistance programs that allow you to see a child psychologist and learning specialist. Find out what your benefits are and how you can access them.”
For more ways to help children alleviate their fear, visit http://valueoptions.com/school-phobia/.
ValueOptions is a health improvement company that serves more than 32 million individuals. On behalf of employers, health plans and government agencies, we manage innovative programs and solutions that directly address the challenges our health care system faces today. A national leader in the fields of mental and emotional wellbeing, recovery and resilience, employee assistance, and wellness, ValueOptions helps people make the difficult life changes needed to be healthier and more productive. With offices nationwide and a network of more than 130,000 provider locations, ValueOptions helps people take important steps in the right direction. We help them live their lives to the fullest potential. Visit www.valueoptions.com for more information.