Why Is My Child Anxious About Going to School?

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Parents

For the past few weeks, my 5-year-old daughter has been extremely anxious each day when it's time to go to school. Until recently she was doing well at school, but now she's hesitant to go and cries every morning. How can I help her?
Susan

Because she initially adjusted well to school and her reluctance to go is recent, something new might be going on, like bullying or trouble with the other kids. Talk to your daughter about how school is going — ask about what she does each day, what she's learning, and what scares her or makes her nervous about school.

Also, ask her teacher about what might be going on. Is your child having difficulty with new tasks in school? Is she having trouble seeing or hearing adequately? You'll also want to observe how she interacts with the other kids and adults and whether her behavior has changed in any other way.

Sometimes the reason kids are reluctant to go to school actually has nothing to do with the school. Kids sometimes don't want to go to school when something big has changed in their lives, like moving, the birth of a new sibling, or a divorce. They may feel they're needed at home because a parent is stressed or because of something else affecting the family. If that's the case, the answer involves addressing the family issue.

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: March 2010

Have a question? Email us.

Although we can't reply personally, you may see your question posted to this page in the future. If you're looking for medical advice, a diagnosis, or treatment, consult your doctor or other qualified medical professional. If this is an emergency, contact emergency services in your area.



Related Resources

OrganizationAmerican Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) AACAP offers up-to-date information on child and adolescent development and issues.
Web SiteStop Bullying This U.S. government website offers valuable resources for kids and adults on bullying awareness, prevention, and intervention.


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Getting Involved at Your Child's School Whether their kids are just starting kindergarten or entering the final year of high school, there are many good reasons for parents to volunteer at school.
How Can I Avoid Struggles With My Child About Going to School? Find out what the experts have to say.
Helping Kids Deal With Bullies Unfortunately, bullying is a common part of childhood. But parents can help kids cope with it and lessen its lasting impact.




Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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