Is your Child Happy at School?

Written By: Mary M. Alward
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As a parent, you'd love to have your child share all of his feelings with you. It would be so easy if he just told you everything that happened to him so you could help him learn to cope with all of life's problems. Realistically, this isn't going to happen. Kids often give answers to questions concerning their feelings using only a word or two. Here are a few tips to help you determine if your child is happy in the school environment.

Communication

Set aside a few minutes each day to talk with your child about school. Ask him how his day went and if he had any problems. He may not share his feelings about negative happenings, especially punishment. However, you may be able to clue in from his body language and demeanor. Encourage your child to communicate with you. One way to go about this is by asking him very direct questions, such as:

" How do you like your teacher?"

"Who are your friends?"

"What do you do at recess?"

"How do your classmates and friends like school?"

When you ask these direct questions, the answers that your child gives may amaze you. If you ask a direct question, he will be likely to answer truthfully. This allows you to evaluate the situation and take the proper steps to correct any problems.

Volunteer

Volunteer at your child's school and in his classroom, if possible. This allows you to study your child's actions in the school environment. It will also give you knowledge of how he handles certain situations and how his teacher controls the class. Volunteering will give you an overview of how happy your child is in school. Does he participate in lessons willingly? Is he bored? Is he working to his full potential? It's also a good idea to evaluate your child when he's on the playground with his friends. Is he comfortable at recess and noon hour, or is he being picked on or bullied? It's always a good idea to know exactly what is happening in the classroom and on the playground.

Parent/Teacher Communication

Parent/teacher communication is very important. Talk to your child's teacher once or twice a month and be sure she knows that you are available for meetings and phone calls, if needed. Kids' teachers are with them everyday and will certainly be aware if your child is unhappy or is having academic or social issues. Many schools now require that each student have an agenda. These enable parents and teachers to communicate on a daily basis. The teacher makes notes in the agenda each day and the parent signs it or makes a note each evening.

9 O' Clock Fever

When I went to school, it was called 9 o'clock fever, or playing hooky. This happens when a child complains of being ill when he wakes up in the morning, but is fine after 9 o'clock when school goes in. Children can also get diarrhea or vomit in the morning and feel much better after school is in for the day. Why? Because they have a bad case of nerves about what is happening at school. If this scenario happens frequently at your house, your child may be trying to avoid attending school because of boredom, bullying or some other reason. Be sure to check with his teacher and the school principal to get things back to normal as soon as possible.

Nerves

Has your child begun to bite his nails recently? Has he taken up sucking his thumb, developed ticks, begun to pull hair, cry or wet the bed. If so, something's not right and it's imperative for you to find out what's going on in his life. Talk to him and assure him that he can tell you anything. Assure him he is loved and explain that you are there for him, no matter what the issue.

Clamming Up

Does your child clam up and refuse to talk when you bring up the subject of his teacher, homework and other school related issues? If so, this is an indication that he is not happy at school. Be sure to communicate with his teacher and principal, in order for the problem to be dealt with swiftly.

Boredom

About half the kids that attend elementary school suffer from boredom. Has your child lost interest in learning? Does he leave his homework at school? Does he refuse to work for his teacher or finish all of his assignments before the rest of the class? All of these things are indications that your child is bored with school and needs work that is more advanced. Talk to his teacher and the principal to have his learning level tested. Kids who are bored to death in school year after year will drop out without graduating secondary school.

Trouble

Is your child disruptive in class? Is he constantly getting in trouble? If so, he may be reaching out for help in the only way he knows how. This is an indication that he is not happy. Talk to him and talk to his teacher and principal so the problem can be dealt with in a positive way.

Fear

Does your child tremble or act afraid when it's time to go to school? Does he beg you to drive him instead of him walking or taking the school bus? If so, your child is trying to tell you that he is afraid. He may be being bullied by one of his peers, or even by his teacher or the bus driver. It's imperative that you find out exactly why he fears going to school.

If you can see your child in any of the scenarios described in this article, it means he is unhappy at school and that the situation needs to be dealt with immediately. If children aren't happy in their school environment, they are unable to learn. Their grades will suffer, which affects their academic and social standing. If this happens, the situation will seem impossible and your child will give up. It's up to us, as parents, to assure our children enjoy their school years and grow up with many happy memories. This aids him in learning and will encourage him to continue to learn all of his life.

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