School Anxiety

“I don’t want to go to school. My tummy hurts.”

What parent have not heard this many a morning before school? Even I played that card many times. But now some studies have shown that it could be a sign that something is amiss at/with school. I will try and help you find some solution or direction with this age-old complaint.

Now, it could be that your child genuinely has some ailment, or that he or she is afraid to go to school. That can be caused by bullying, underlying learning difficulty, or by separation anxiety. This affects 2-5% of all children.

So, after you ruled out physical ailment, let’s have a look at some the other causes.


Children can be mean. Even if your child is a cute, little angel at home, things can be different at school. But if your child is a victim of school bullies, it’s hard to get to the bottom of it. Most children don’t want to talk about it and prefer to suffer in silence. They would cower in the library at break time, hide in the restrooms or wonder around without making eye contact. Some of the signs of bullying is that your child makes excuses as to why they can’t go to school, has few, if any, friends. Appears sad, moody, or teary when he or she comes home. Has trouble sleeping or has bad dreams. And heaven forbid, comes home with cuts, bruises or scratches he or she doesn’t want to explain. Trying to find out if this is the cause of school-anxiety can be hard but if you have a strong and open relationship with your child, he or she will open up to you if you ask questions like “I’ve read a lot about bullying lately. Is that going on at your school?” Or “Are you being teased in a mean way at school?” Assuring your child of your love and that it is not their fault is the first step to gain back some of the self-confidence lost with bullying. Share your concerns with a teacher or headmaster as soon as possible to sort this out.

Learning difficulty or disorders

Some children will try to hide their learning struggle by acting out, act helpless or withdraw. Unfortunately, most cases will be labelled ADHD without prober investigation. But the list is endless. From Dyslexia, ADHD, visual difficulty, hearing problems to Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. Now don’t stress too much about it until you had your child tested and assessed. Some of these roadblocks can be overcome with extra effort and specialised learning programs. Contact a local specialist should you have any doubts.

Separation Anxiety

Children fighting a battle with this experience extreme distress when they are separated from their parents, caregivers or persons they trust. It is normal for a toddler to cry a bit when mommy drops her off at daycare. But it becomes a problem when this disrupts with age-appropriate behaviour. Children aged from 7 should be able to go to school without crying or tantrums every morning. When this continues for more than four weeks, seek professional advice. Symptoms may include refusal to sleep alone, lots of worry when separated from home or a loved one, worry about getting lost, repeated nightmares and of course refusing to go to school. If left untreated, children are at risk of performing poorly at school, miss out on social experiences and in some cases engage in substance abuse. It is very important to understand that this can be a result of the constrictions of the current COVID-19 situation and it may pass without invasive action like medication. Building a strong bond with your child and care-giver is of utmost importance. But unfortunately, not all Separation Anxiety cases will be solved without some sort of treatment in the form of medication. Just make sure that the person prescribing this is an expert on the matter.

I really hope that this will help parents in getting to the bottom of “Morning sickness” in children.

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