Ways to Help Kids Who "Hate" School
It was cute when she clung to your skirt on her first day of preschool, but now that she's much older, it's lost its charm. Children and adolescents who "hate" school typically have anxieties that fall into certain patterns, depending on their age. Here are some ways to alleviate school-related fears and stressors.
Get to the root of the problem. Is the issue social, psychological, physiological (Lack of sleep? Over-stimulation? Food? Hormones?).
Get your kid involved with extracurricular activities that interest him.
Teach your child to power through difficult situations by using a "think aloud" approach. Ask her to imagine the situation, then ask questions to help her cope, like "What do you think will happen?" or "How could you make it better?"
Involve the teacher and troubleshoot the situation together. If the problem is with a specific classmate or teacher, talk to a school administrator about your options. As a last resort, don't be afraid to change classes/teachers.
Set aside 15 minutes per day to allow your kid to worry, and have her write down her fears in a journal. After those 15 minutes, the worrying is over until the next day.
Be honest about your own experiences in school. Let your kid know you've been there, too.
Get a tutor or academic coach. Individual attention from someone outside the family can make all the difference, especially if the issue is academic.
Let your kid vent. Sometimes when you're upset, all you need is a friendly ear.
Teach anxiety-coping strategies such as counting objects (patterns in the rug, colors in the room, designs in the bulletin board, etc.) to get your child out of the negative, anxiety-ridden frame of mind.
Yuk it up. The easiest way to relieve stress is to laugh! It releases endorphins that make your kid (and you) feel better!
Use reflective listening. If your child says "My teacher hates me," reflect by saying "You feel like your teacher misunderstands you—tell me more" to validate the feeling.
Seek professional help. If you feel you've tried everything and your kid is still unhappy and insists that he "hates" school, don't be afraid to set up an appointment with a counselor or child psychologist.