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How To Help Your Child Who 'Hates School'
PHOTO BY @Chinnapong/iStock
  • You know your toddler is ready for school when he shows any of the following: social skills, independence, and emotional maturity. He’ll also let you know through play — a child preparing a “school bag” himself or mimicking the routine of a school kid (for example, by saying “Hintay ko school bus”) are just some of the hints for school preparedness. Due to its novelty, preschool is an exciting idea for your little one (Meeting new faces! Playing all day!) and he’ll be raring to go. 

    On the other hand, around the second or third grade, you might notice your child losing interest once school becomes less fun and more like work, and prompt him to not want to go. “At the same time that kids are moving from play-based learning into more independent learning, their academics and friendships are also becoming increasingly complex,” Rebecca Branstetter, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, told Parents. She gives pointers on dealing with this phase.

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    Get to the root.

    In order to help out your child, it is important that you understand what is causing him to be upset. At times, he may not know himself the reason, and rather than tell you about it, he may complain of stomachache or give any reason why he can’t go to school. (Here are some signs your child needs a break.)

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    It’s also possible that he really does not know why he “hates” school. But rather than asking why, “What” questions might give you better clues. “What is your least favorite activity in school?” “What do you think of your teacher / seatmate?” Keep it casual and light so he doesn’t feel like it’s an inquisition.

    Address it at once.

    It will be easier to find a solution once you’re able to pinpoint the problem. If it’s academics, and your child is finding it hard to follow the lessons, hiring a tutor may be an option. If it’s his relationship with his teacher, a meeting with her may be in order. If it’s a classmate who is causing the problem, listen intently and determine if it’s a bullying issue. If so, encourage your child to let his teacher know, and make a follow up at a reasonable time to see what action has been taken by the school. 

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    Consult a medical professional. 

    If these are not enough to improve how your child feels about school, there may be a deeper problem you need to look into, such as anxiety or depression, and professional help may be needed. Says Christopher Kearney, Ph.D., director of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Child School Refusal and Anxiety Disorders Clinic, “If it lasts more than two weeks or starts to seriously disrupt your day-to-day life, that’s when you know you need help.” 

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