by Joseph Alvin Peña
It is almost inevitable for parents who send their kids to school to face this problem. At some point, children may feel that they do not want to go to school, and this could be because of a number of reasons. In my practice as a counselor, I have dealt with this concern quite a number of times. I have observed that this concern usually is more common for students in the early education and lower grades. Usually, this occurs more commonly at the beginning of the school year or after a long holiday. I would like to share some of the strategies that have worked for my students in helping them overcome this concern.
1. Identify the Problem Correctly
When I speak to students who did not want to go to school, I find that children who did not want to go to school usually came from a long and enjoyable break. They thoroughly enjoyed their time and activities they experienced during the break and they do not want it to end. This is the most common reason I encountered with my students not wanting to go to school, however this is certainly not the only one that may be the reason for their refusal. A child who goes to bed late or lacks sleep may also refuse to go to school. Children who lack sleep may also report somatic complaints such as headaches and stomachaches. Apart from this, children who experience difficulty with their lesson may be reluctant to go to school. A child who feels less successful would want to avoid failing or being embarrassed inside the classroom. One thing he may think of to avoid this scenario is to try not to come to school. Another reason why children might refuse to come to school could be the nature of his relationships he has in school. A child who is being bullied would be fearful and avoid going to school. The same is true if the student is afraid of a teacher. There could be other reasons why a student would refuse to go to school. Determining the reason behind the refusal would help you and your child’s teachers address the child's refusal. It would be helpful also to work closely with your school counselor and teachers as they may have certain information and observed behavior which could help you address your child's refusal to go to school.
2. Ask Your Child About His Feelings and Thoughts
I usually talk to my students about their refusal to come to school as soon as they are referred to me by their reachers or parents. I ask the student how he feels and why he feels that way. This gives me insight on what the student is thinking and feeling at the moment of his refusal to come to school I find it helpful also to talk to the student much later after his crying spell. At this time, the student's insight on his refusal is usually deeper which allows me to address his concern in a more pointed and effective way. When speaking to your child about his refusal to come to school, it would be helpful to ask about his feelings and thoughts during the onset and also after the student expressed his refusal to come to school.
3. Talk About the Importance of Coming to School
Explain to your child why he needs to come to school. When talking about the importance of coming to school, I often discuss responsibility and equate his attendance to school with the need of his parents to report for work. The student and I also discuss the things that he could learn in school. We also talk about the fun things we would do within the day, such as the games and activities to be expected in the classroom within the day. These help the student look forward to the activities for the day and see his time in school as pleasurable and productive. It would be very important to take into consideration the feelings that your child has reported as you speak to him. This should set the tone of your conversation and the approach you would employ in your discussion.
4. Establish a Morning Routine
Routines in the morning help children see patterns and know what is to be expected every morning. It would be helpful if you discuss this the night before and come into an agreement on what is to be done in the morning. If the child acts up and refuses to go to school, remind him of what was discussed the night before and gently insist on following the plan. If your child refuses to go to school in the morning, you may talk to him at night and ask about his reason for refusing to come to school. This would be the time as well to reiterate the reminders and to get his consent to follow the routine the following morning.
5. Work Closely With Your Counselor and Teachers
It would be helpful to enlist the help of your child's teachers and counselor. They can reiterate the reminders that you give at home. They can also provide you with information that would be helpful in addressing your child's refusal to come to school.
Eventually, children's refusal to go to school will pass. It may take longer for some children, but they eventually see school for what it is when the reason for refusal is addressed accordingly. They realize that it is a place where their minds will be challenged and their hearts will be filled with joy with all the many activities and relationships they build while they are in school.
It has become more difficult to separate our children from their gadgets these days. This article discusses tips on how we, as adults, can help children engaged without the use of gadgets. (Tip: it involves us not using gadgets as well!)
Like a bad love team, kids and gadgets shouldn’t be together. Gadgets can be harmful to kids, especially when used excessively. They keep children from being active and reduce real world conversations and connections.
But how do you wean youngsters away from their precious gadgets? What should moms and dads do to effectively limit screen time and bonding moments with all things “techy”?“
Getting children to ‘detox’ is something that is done ‘by example,’” says educator, wife and mother of two Aina Arcilla-Lacson, M.A., who owns Playseum and makes Lacwood Toys. “If children see [and live it daily] that their parents reach for their respective gadgets the minute they awake in the morning, then getting the kids to do otherwise will be difficult.”
Digital “detoxification,” she explains, can happen if there are interesting and interactive alternatives to do at home. But moms and dads always have to lead and initiate.
“If we parents expect our kids to ‘do it themselves,’ then we are gravely misguided. Children always follow by example,” Teacher Aina stresses. “If mom is forever on Candy Crush or Flappy bird during her free time, then children will do the same thing. We cannot keep nagging our kids to ‘Read your books’ if we ourselves are constantly reading online. Go out to lunch or dinner without the friggin’ gadget! Normal human beings talk to each other over meals. Not stare at their phones or iPads while waiting for the meal to arrive.”
Here are Teacher Aina’s suggestions on how to model good behavior and keep young ones engaged and entertained while away from their iPads, iPods, and other addictive doodads.
What gadget-free activity have you done with your child recently?
In the midst of all the business of the school year, it is just as important to ensure your child’s emotional and mental well-being. You can do this my journeying with your child as he goes through his experiences in school.
Here are some things that you can do to guide your child throughout the school year:
1. Constant Communication
Take a moment everyday to have a conversation with your child about his thoughts and feelings about his daily experiences in school: What were the happiest moments during his day? Does he have any questions or worries that you can help him with? How are his interactions with the different people in school (e.g., classmates and teachers)? How does he feel about meeting new people and gaining new experiences? What are some of the things that he is looking forward to about school?
Some children do not voluntarily talk about their thoughts and feelings. It will be helpful to find time to communicate with them in order to have an idea of what they are experiencing. Pay attention to the words they use, even their body language, as these may reveal to you how they are.
In moments when your children express worries about school, it may help to communicate with their school teachers to find ways on how these may be addressed.
2. Encourage Openness
For some children, trying new activities can be a fun and enjoyable experience, but to others this can be the opposite. Some do not easily respond to changes and new things because it entails stepping out of their comfort zone, opening oneself to things that may seem unfamiliar, and so they feel uncomfortable and in some ways unsettled because they may not know what the outcome of these new experiences will be. This can leave them feeling anxious and scared.
As adults, we know that stepping outside of one’s comfort zones can lead to great possibilities such as developing new skills, experiencing enjoyable activities, meeting new friends, etc. Encourage your child to try new things by exploring on little changes that he can make. (For instance, if you would like to encourage your child to be make new friends, he can start playing with a few kids at a time.)
You and your child can talk about the little changes that he is willing to make in order for him not to feel as though he is being forced, and to also allow him to feel more empowered especially when he can see that his opinion matters.
3. Celebrate Successes However Small
“It’s not heaps of superficial praise from a parent that builds a child’s confidence, but regular encouraging words that draw out a child’s own thoughts on the experience.” Experiencing new things can be a big step for a child and we can help encourage them by acknowledging their everyday successes, however small. Once he realizes that he is capable of handling the small things, he will be more ready to handle bigger new things.
4. Provide Assurance and Security
Hand in hand with giving them praises and celebrating little victories comes the assurance that even in times of shortcomings, you will be by their side to help them learn and stand back up again. There will be many opportunities for success, but there will also be opportunities to make mistakes. They need to know that moments of shortcomings are chances for them to learn, and these are not for them and others to doubt their abilities.
At the end of the day, your child must understand that there is no problem too small or too great that they need to go through on their own, and for every problem, there are people around to help them go through it.
Do remember that every child is unique in his adjustments, and thus, some may adjust easily, and others may take a while. If after a while you find that your efforts have not been fruitful, wait. Perhaps your child simply needs time and soon, he will slowly ease into all these changes and discover for himself the joy of all the new things that will come his way.
AnxietyBC. (n.d.) How to deal with back-to-school worries. Retrieved from
Bartlett, K. (2014). How to encourage kids to try new things. Retrieved from
Finello, K. (n.d.) Simply ways to boost your child’s self-esteem. Retrieved from
The Understood Team. (n.d.) 6 way to improve your child’s self-esteem with
extracurricular activities. Retrieved from https://www.understood.org/en/
The Guidance Counselor is one of the essential personnel of the school’s team of formators. An advocate of the student, the Guidance Counselor provides programs and services that help the student to acquire academic, personal, and social skills essential to truly become men for others endowed with a passion for justice and the skills for development.
Listed below are the different tasks of a Guidance Counselor:
The goal of our Guidance periods is to provide a structured learning experience for our students to nurture their individual strengths, interests and abilities, as they are imparted age-appropriate knowledge, skills, and values that will aid in the formation of their personal, social, and emotional development.
The scope of our Guidance curriculum includes, but is not limited to, the awareness, development and application in the following areas of focus:
by Jenica Renee See
Becoming parents can be an exciting, yet at the same time, challenging role to take on. It’s always going to be a new experience.
The truth is, there’s not one parenting style that would suit every child from one family to another. It can never be the same. What’s even more stressful about it is that it takes several trial and errors of different techniques and disciple plans just to get it right, just to see which one would work.
Child discipline is a very broad subject. It’s not just about correcting your child’s mistakes and it definitely does not equate to finding the best punishment either. True enough, it’s about teaching your children good manners, it’s about teaching your children the do’s and don’ts of different situations, it’s about promoting proper behavior; but more than that, it should be about building a relationship with your children while allowing them to learn from you. It’s about listening to them, it’s about seeing the world from their point of view, and walking through their life experiences with them.
As your child grows, every experience will be new to them, and because of this, they will have their own way of seeing and dealing with these experiences. It’s because of this that we need a great amount of patience and understanding. These two words are key terms to keep in mind as we try to understand a new approach to parenting: positive parenting.
Positive parenting is an approach where there involves a more open relationship between a parent and his child. It promotes a healthier relationship between a parent and his child alongside discipline. It encourages parents to know their children more. It’s not a set of rules to be followed, it’s not a list of fixed answers for parenting problems, it’s an approach where it is uniquely applied to each family and it begins with a BELIEF:
“Believing children want to communicate with you, listening to children, discussing with your children what you want them to do, being very clear about what you want them to do, setting clear limits and boundaries, being firm and consistent, giving the same message every time, viewing disagreements between parents and children as opportunities to develop problem-solving and negotiation skills.” (Al Crowell, 2003)
Positive parenting encourages a happy and positive relationship from a parent and his child. It encourages learning how to listen and to encourage, instead of discouraging and instilling fear on your children. A Roman poet, Publius Terentius After (Terence), once wrote:
“It is better to bind your children to you by a feeling of respect and by gentleness, than by fear.”
TIPS FOR POSITIVE PARENTING
Here are some tips on how you can incorporate positive parenting on your child:
LISTEN – ENCOURAGE – MODEL
1. Communicate with Your Child:
Remember first and foremost that the way you see things is not always similar to your child’s way of seeing things. Neither can we expect them to understand things in the way that we do, not all the time.
Especially for younger children, one situation may need to be experienced several times just for them to understand. They will learn. They will eventually learn.
Our children are not designed to simply follow instructions, an explanation comes with direction. Ultimately, our goal should be to help them see the value and the lessons to be learned in different situations, more than just what RIGHTs and WRONGs in a situation.
This is where communication comes in. Communicating with your child, listening to what he has to say, allows the two of you to meet halfway with each other. This becomes an opportunity for you to explain things for him to understand, and an opportunity for him to do the same. The last thing that we want to do is to reprimand our children or to put them at fault for the wrong reasons, this will only cause confusion on their part.
The key here is to allow them to help us as we help them.
2. Encourage His Every Milestone:
Giving praises and encouragement can have the greatest influence on children. When others remind them that they are improving, that they have done their best, that others are pleased with their performance, this can give them the greatest motivation to keep on doing what they’re doing or, even better, to go further. And thus, this creates a pattern of positive attitude for them.
We need to keep in mind as well that even the little accomplishments that they are able to achieve deserve encouragement, because we want them to see and appreciate the effort that they’ve put into simply trying. We want them to see that, so long as they keep on trying, they will succeed. We need to help our children create a pattern of a positive attitude of seeing the good in their little accomplishments.
“Encouraging a child can bring out the very best in them. A child who is encouraged to try new things, and continue to work at things they have not quite mastered gives them confidence in themselves to keep trying until they do succeed. Sometimes, it takes showing the child step by step what needs to be done, other times, it takes words of encouragement. No matter what the situation is, to encourage a child, you have to focus on the positive things.” (LMG, 2009)
3. Happy Home, Happy Children: Be a Role Model
One thing we can keep in mind is that children are like sponges, they absorb everything around them. This includes habits, attitudes, expressions, ACTIONS and even your MOODS. Everything begins in a children’s home, and more so, with the people that are closest to them. This immediate circle can bring the greatest influence to your child’s life, and more importantly, to your child’s attitude to life.
Audrey Tan-Zubiri mentioned in her article, “Happy Parents Raise Happy Children”, in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, “We know that one day, our children will have to face their own hardships. If they are armed with a joyful spirit, maybe this will help them have face their problems, and eventually, joyfully triumph over them.”
Of course, your attention should not just be on your children. Nurturing your own happiness is just as important. Audrey Tan-Zubiri’s also mentioned in her article, “If we want to raise happy and joyful children, I suppose it goes without saying that we must be happy parents, too. After all, how can you make someone happy if you’re not happy yourself?” One of the way by which you can attend to your child’s emotional well-being is to make sure that you first attend to yours.
It’s not just the positive disposition, but it goes hand in hand with the things that we want our children to learn from us. Children learn not only from what they hear, but more so, from what they see. Modeling our own actions for them to learn from is one effective way on how we can teach our children.
LMG. (2009, March 10). Encouraging a child when he feels discouraged: Teaching a child to never give up. Retrieved from http://voices.yahoo.com/encouraging-child-he-feels-discouraged-2803855.html?cat=25.
Crowell, A. (2003). What is positive parenting? Retrieved from http://www.nospank.net/crowel4.htm.
Tan-Zubiri, A. (2011, August 24). Happy parents raise happy children. Inquirer Lifestyle. Retrieved from http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/10869/happy-parents-raise-happy-children.