|We all want our kids to love us, but we need to be able to leave them with others once and a while!|
Many children, especially those between the ages of five and seven, suffer from a touch of separation anxiety, which is often manifested as school phobia (also called “school refusal”). School phobia tends to show itself at the start of a new school term or after a holiday during which the child has become more attached to their parent(s).
In some cases, children will even become anxious about going to school after the weekend or on a daily basis. Symptoms of school phobia may include stomachaches, nausea, fatigue and frequent potty breaks.
While this behavior is fairly common and nothing to be overly concerned about, it does make life very difficult for both parents and teachers. If the anxiety disorder isn’t addressed early on, it can become more severe and spread to other areas of a child’s life.
Most psychologists agree that regularly allowing a child to stay home, accompanying the child to school (by volunteering in the classroom for example) or even switching to home schooling may send the wrong message to the child.
Generally, once the child reaches school and their parents have gone, the panic subsides, since their main fear is leaving home or their primary caretaker, rather than being at school itself.
Finding ways to help your child cope with their anxiety rather than avoid the situation is the key to helping them overcome their fears. Many parents and teachers these days are finding that one of the most effective relaxing techniques for children is singing.
If you’ve ever seen The Sound of Music, then you’ll remember how fraulein Maria managed to transform her unruly gang of kids into the most well-behaved group you’ve ever seen, all through the use of music and song.
|This tip is from KidsHealth.org.|
Of course that’s just a movie (although it is based on a true story), and we aren’t suggesting that a chorus of “These are a few of my favorite things” will turn your shy child into a fearless school-goer overnight.
But, the power of music and song is undeniable, and singing is known to have a calming effect on children, helping their mind to focus and their body to relax.
A clinical research carried out in Pennsylvania found that music therapy can reduce tension, anxiety and stress, and may even help to control chronic pain and boost the immune system. It can also help in cases of emotional trauma, which is often the underlying cause of school phobia and separation anxiety.
In addition to releasing endorphins into the body and brain, which causes children to feel happier, singing may also help children to develop better language and listening skills as well as increase their concentration and memory.
|This tip is also from KidsHealth.org. They have a great article on separation anxiety at the link provided.|
Experts believe that children lack sleep and rhythm in their lives, which causes a kind imbalance, both on the outside and inside. Singing throughout the day, whether happy melodies on their way to school or peaceful lullabies before bed, can help to harmonize their mind and body and help them to be much more balanced emotionally.
An emotionally balanced child is less likely to have separation or social anxiety, and in this way singing can help to prevent as well as cure such behavioral problems in young children.
One reason that singing has such a profound effect on a child is that voices are the first connection that a baby makes with its parents and immediate family, and studies have shown that singing to an unborn child can have a calming effect.
Then once a child is born, before they learn to speak, they will primarily listen to the sounds around them, taking them all in and tuning in to their mother’s voice. Voices become a source of comfort for young children, and singing brings back that familiar security of being loved and cared for.
Singing is also a great way to release pent up emotions, whether they are angry and frustrated emotions or insecure and fearful emotions. Once a child is able to let out all that stress and worry through singing, they will be able to see the possibilities of the fun and enjoyment that school can bring.
As far as what songs you sing with them, it doesn’t really matter. You can make up your own “school songs” or sing well known rhymes and ditties that they are already familiar with. The important thing is to help them relax and feel at ease.
Of course, some children may never enjoy the thought of going to school in the morning; they’d much rather stay home and play with their toys or watch television. However, if you are able to bring them into a calmer and more peaceful state of mind, it will be much easier for them to see that school isn’t as scary or unpleasant as they have worked it up to be in their minds.
Aileen Pablo is part of the team behind OpenLearning Australia, one of Australia’s leading providers of Distance Education. When not working, Aileen blogs about education and career. She is often invited as a speaker in Personality Development Seminars in the Philippines. If you have a blog and would like free content, you can find her on Google+.