Archive for March 25th, 2014


I’m staying home from school today.
I’d rather be in bed,
pretending that I have a pain
that’s pounding in my head.

I’ll say I have a stomachache.
I’ll claim I’ve got the flu.
I’ll shiver like I’m cold
and hold my breath until I’m blue.

I’ll fake a cough. I’ll fake a sneeze.
I’ll say my throat is sore.
If necessary, I can throw
a tantrum on the floor.

I’m sure I’ll get away with it.
Of that, there’s little doubt.
But even so, I really hope
my students don’t find out.

by Kenn Nesbitt

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I don’t want to go into school today; Mum, 
I don’t feel like school work today.
Oh, don’t make me go to school today, Mum
Oh, please let me stay home and play.

But you must go to school, my cherub, my lamb, 
If you don’t it will be a disaster, 
How would they manage without you, my sweet, 
After all you are the headmaster! 

colin mcnaughton

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A sad student who may not want to go to school.
A sad student who may not want to go to school and whose anxiety may actually cause him to have symptoms such as headaches and stomachaches.

Many kids look forward to going to school.

They may not always enjoy every single part of the school day. But in general, they like spending time with their friends at school, learning new things and being challenged.

Some other kids just dread going to school though. For these kids, going to school may become so stressful that they have temper tantrums over going to school or complain of symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, or chest pain.


For some kids, there is an easily identifiable trigger for school refusal, such as being bullied, death in the family, or move to a new neighborhood. Following one of these events, especially if they are associated with the child staying home with a parent for some time, the child may not want to go to school any more.

Although school refusal has been associated with both separation anxiety disorder and social phobia, the easiest way to think about it is that school refusal is a ‘difficulty attending school associated with emotional distress, especially anxiety and depression.’

Symptoms of School Refusal

Not surprising, school refusal is most common in kids who are five to six years old, when they are just starting school and in their first year of kindergarten. It is also common in school-age children who are about 10 to 11 years old, toward the end of the last years of elementary school.

In addition to having temper tantrums and crying when it is time to go to school, symptoms that children may have when they don’t want to go to school may include vague complaints such as:

  • stomachaches
  • headaches
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • chest pain
  • joint pain

Although these symptoms can also be found in children with other medical problems, one good sign that they are being caused by school refusal is that they get better later in the morning once the child understands that he is going to be able to stay home.

Other signs that a child’s symptoms might be caused by school refusal include that your child:

  • is gaining weight well.
  • does not have a fever, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • does not have as many symptoms when he isn’t in school, including weekends and holidays.
  • has no obvious physical signs of illness when you visit your pediatrician. For example, he may have joint pain, but no joint swelling or limited movement of the joint.
  • in general has other fears, phobias, or symptoms ofanxiety, such as clingy behavior, excessive worrying or nightmares.

Managing School Refusal

Of course, the main goal in managing school refusal is getting kids back in school. Unfortunately, when kids seem sick and are trying to stay home from school, it is not always easy to recognize that they are avoiding school.

That is why a visit to your pediatrician is usually a good first step when your kids don’t want to go to school. This can help ensure that your child doesn’t have a physical condition causing his symptoms. Unfortunately, while a physical condition can often be ruled out after your pediatrician talks to you and your child and does a physical exam, some children with school refusal end up seeing multiple specialists and having many tests before a diagnosis is finally made.

Once a diagnosis of school refusal is made, it can help to:

  • make sure that your child goes to school each day, since the more he stays home, the harder it will be to get him to go back to school.
  • understand that even though your child likely doesn’t have a physical problem causing his symptoms, that doesn’t mean that those symptoms aren’t real. So your child isn’t necessarily making up symptoms, such as stomachaches or headaches. They may just be caused by his anxiety about going to school.
  • talk to your child and school staff to see if you can figure out what is triggering your child’s school avoidance behaviors, such as a bully, school performance problems, or trouble making friends.
  • consider getting help from a child psychiatrist and/or a child psychologist, in addition to your pediatrician, especially if you feel like you are having to force your child to go to school each day.
  • have a plan for when your child has symptoms at school, such as spending 10 to 15 minutes in the nurses office and then returning to class.
  • keep a symptom diary and see your pediatrician on the days that your child feels like he really can’t go to school.
  • consider family therapy if there are any stressors at home, like a divorce, separation, discipline problems, death in the family, new sibling, or a recent move.

One of the most important things for parents is to be open to the idea that a child’s symptoms might be caused by school refusal and not a physical problem. This will help get your child back in school faster and avoid unnecessary medical tests. Even if you are not convinced that your child has school refusal after seeing your pediatrician, you can keep your child in school as you proceed with a second opinion or further evaluation for a physical problem.

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Non-Mom's Blog

6 Tips to Help New Parents

Whether it’s your friend’s first time having a child or your sister delivering her fourth born, figuring out how to be a help instead of a hindrance during those first few days of the baby’s life can be difficult. New parents often feel overwhelmed and exhausted as they adjust to their new role. Help your friend or family member adjust to life with a newborn by following these tips:


While it’s a simple suggestion, simply asking how you can help can open the door to lending a helping hand. Some new parents want to limit interaction with others during those first few weeks to bond with their newborn while others may welcome opportunities to introduce their new baby to friends and family. From helping with laundry to holding the baby so they can take a nap, new parents may welcome the opportunity to…

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The Perfect Home Life

There are certain things within the home that you wouldn’t expect to be a danger to a young child, until you look closely! Before you have children you don’t have to worry about sharp edges on cupboards or about leaving a knife on the side, but as soon as you bring a child into your home you need to take extra care, so here is how to childproof your home

download (2)When it comes to the kitchen, you can install safety latches on all cupboards and draws to stop the child/children from being able to get in them and potentially end up playing with dangerous pieces of cutlery and anything that could harm themselves. Make sure kitchen appliances are pushed as far back and far away from the side as possible. This way they won’t be able to grab it and pull it off the side potentially making it fall…

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