I can't go to school. My stomach hurts
Have you experienced multiple weekends with everyone healthy until Sunday night or Monday morning when you hear "Mom/Dad I can't go to school, my stomach hurts?" If you have, you're not alone. Many children experience anxiety about going to school. You can help your child overcome these feelings by taking the following steps:
- GO TO THE DOCTOR - The reason behind this is two-fold. One, to rule out a medical concern. Our primary issue is to make sure your child is not in need of medical attention. Two, to support the mind/body connection. When we have ruled out a medical issue, we can reassure the student that the physical discomfort they are experiencing is due to anxiety.
- VALIDATE THE PAIN - The physical discomfort is real. Our bodies react physically to stress, real or perceived. Talk to your child about how the body reacts to stress.
· EXPLAIN ANXIETY - Discuss issues that can cause feelings of anxiety. The underlying reasons for this can range from separation anxiety, fear for the safety of themselves or a family member while apart, fear of vomiting in school, performance anxiety, and fear of peer rejection to name a few. Talk with your child about times you experience anxiety and what works for you in reducing those feelings. Please keep in mind that everyone is different and what works for you may not work for them.
· AVOID KEEPING THEM HOME - As parents we want to protect our kids from the difficulties that they may face in life, but realize by allowing them to avoid the situation you are in fact making it worse by not assisting them in developing coping strategies to overcome difficulties.
· GET HELP - If these difficulties persist, seek professional assistance. Your pediatrician and or school counselor can assist you in finding professional help. Please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or see the community referral link on the left of this page for some resources.