What is school refusal?

School refusal is, the refusal by a child to go to school. When children completely refuse to go to school, extreme fear and anxiety are often a big reason why.

What to look out for?

  • Refusal to go to school in the morning
  • Leaving or running away from school during the school day
  • Tantrums and outbursts, especially in the morning
  • Threats to harm themselves if they've made to go to school
  • Physical symptoms like headaches, stomach aches, panic attacks and diarrhoea
  • Extreme clinginess: not wanting to be alone in a room
  • Sleep disturbances

How can I help my child?

Tackle it early - The longer you delay approaching the situation, the deeper it becomes.

Talk to your child - Listen to their fears and respect their feeling. This will help with identifying the problem.

Speak to the school - Talk to your child's school and work together to support your child getting back to school.

Be mindful of your own emotions - Children are like sponges and can sense your own anxieties. Try and be positive about them going to school.

Maintain a routine - Maintaining a good routine can help prepare your child for school and allows them to know what to expect. 

Motivate your child - Depending on your child's age they can respond well to motivation and encouragement through sticker charts.

Delayed goodbyes - Do not delay goodbyes, as this can make it harder for your child.

Read our full school refusal guide here

View our school refusal infographic here