“I don’t want to go to school today!”, could be what your toddler might tell you on a Monday morning followed by crying, protesting and clinging. Often these symptoms coupled with ‘faking sickness’ could be one of the reasons to believe that your child may not be happy at school. Let’s find out ways to figure out if your child is happy or unhappy:

1. Asking questions: As parents, asking questions to our children comes very naturally. However, it’s the ability to probe further that can help in understanding if our child is happy or not. Questions such as, ‘How was school today?” will result in receiving vague answers. Hence let your questions be specific in nature so you receive detail answers. Questions such as “Where do you play during recess?” or “who made your day a good one?” will prompt your child to be at ease and answer openly.

2. Volunteering: Parent volunteers are always welcome in school. When your child notices you there it will give them an opportunity to have a common ground to talk about. It’s also a way for you to gauge how happy your child is, how they relate to other children.

3. Talking to the teacher:  The teacher is the one person who spends as much time with your child as you do. Hence, every change in behaviour might get easily noticed at school by her first then by you. Therefore, speaking with the teacher will help you to understand the situation better.

4. Talking about school: This one of the more obvious signs to know that your child is happy. The more enthused they are to speak about their time spent at school, the more they most likely enjoy it, and will want to share with you their positive experiences.

5 signs a child is not happy at school:

1. They may refuse to cooperate. For example, not to participate in activities.

2. A child may seem grumpy when they arrive from school.

3. A child might appear withdrawn.

4. Poor grades and lagging performance at school is an indicator.

5. Reluctance to go to school and stomach ache and vomiting might persist.

What can you do if your child is unhappy?

1. Recognize fears: In this big world that we live in, it’s relatively easy for our children to pick up on fears. They could be fearful of death, losing a parent or develop a phobia. It’s vital to allow your children to recognize their anxiety.

2. Contact other parents or the parent-teacher association: Parents have amazing bargaining power — and there’s a real strength in numbers. If a group of parents objects that the textbooks are outdated, the school will probably be much more responsible than if they complained individually.

3. Addressing deeper problems: Once you’ve figured there’s a deeper problem, then you must take the child to a therapist who can help them on issues that are deeply rooted.

4. Be positive:  Focus on the positives. Help them to positively problem solve solutions to things that are bothering them. Encourage him or her to talk to their teacher if there is a problem.

5. Plan and execute: Since you are your child’s advocate, make a plan with your child to help them be happy at school. Schedule and implement strategies that you think will work. Read, talk, and sometimes just allow your child to be.