Would You Let Your First Grader Stay Home from School Bc She Really Wanted To?

Updated on April 13, 2013
J.T. asks from Oradell, NJ
42 answers

ETA: I can't add to the bottom as the screen won't scroll down well... So thank you everyone. Some very helpful replies. She was totally fine when I got home. She herself said right away she thinks she was just tired. I think bc of the mental illness factor on my husband's side which fairly recently grew larger, I am on hyper alert. Episodes like this show me things happen but it's not a reason to get too worked up. She wasn't throwing a tantrum btw in my opinion. No whining or yelling or being angry etc. Just sadness... It also wasn't all week all day - just at bedtime. I offer my kids tons of sleep time. I wish they would take it! But I can't make them fall asleep so I do think she was tired. Last night she feel asleep quickly and early and was happy this morning. Of course this may happen again and I'm glad to have this under my belt to know that she will be ok and as remind her of that.

My youngest is very sensitive, sweet, and potentially will suffer from depression I think... We were on vacation last week but back since Friday so it's been a while. It seems like every night this week she's been crying about something. She's worried it'll be too hot the next day, she didn't understand a math problem at school and was very upset (she typically does very well, the teacher thinks she was just overthinking it, really shouldn't have been a big deal etc)... Last night I took the dog out and apparently she'd gotten up crying bc she was hot. Complain ok but cry? It wasn't hard to cool her room down... I figured she was tired. She'd had a busy but very fun day with a trampoline place outing. This morning she was up kind of early and again crying. She just wanted to stay home, she didn't know why she was crying but couldn't stop, she's just sad, she wants to go back to the trampoline place and on and on. I finally said if she was really unhappy at school, she could tell her teacher she didn't feel well and come home. That made it a little better but then she started again so I said she could just stay home. For context, my husband had of course left to go to the gym before work and I work full time too but we have a nanny so she can come home. She said she would go to school so I said ok. But she still cried. Then I offered to call my boss and tell him I'd be late and take her to school. She said no. So frustrating... I guess my question is do you ever let your young child skip school? I'm not sure how harsh to be. She is only 7... And of course I worry she's going to really suffer from anxiety and depression when she's older if she's like this now. SHe has a great life! She does very well in school, super sweet teacher, and enough friends. She's not Miss Social but that's how she prefers things. any thoughts?

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So What Happened?

Thanks though some people can be so harsh that I kind of wonder why I ask... Take the good with the bad I guess. I've suffered from depression and there's a lot of mental illness on my husband's side of the family. A lot. So yes, I am hyper aware of it. We've been back from vacation a week as of tonight so if it was just a matter of getting back into her routine, I'd think she'd be over that by now. And I don't baby her all the time... But she doesn't really seem to want attention so much as she really can't stop crying. I can see her struggling to stop and to try and be strong - it's visible. But she worries so much. I know I used to fake being sick sometimes to stay home and it didn't hurt me in the long run which is why i think maybe it's not so bad to let her stay home. Same time, of course I don't want it to become a habit etc. It's confusing. She is not nearly as happy go lucky as the majority of kids I see. So with our family history and what I've observed, she seems to have tendencies. I'm not labeling her as depressed though and that's why we haven't consulted a professional. If this type of stuff continues vs being sporadic, we will though.

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answers from Phoenix on

She's 7... my DD does the dramatic crying bit over the most trivial things lately. I think it's the age, and I think it's a stage, so don't make too big of a deal out of it, and NO, don't let her work you and keep her home from school. You don't want to start that habit, do you?

Personally, I don't think she sounds abnormally emotional. Most girls, and especially girls this age are very emotional and intense. I wouldn't jump to conclusions and assume she'll some type of depression or anxiety. I do think you are using the mental stuff as an excuse or crutch for her behavior.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

In that scenerio, I probably would've made her go to school. It sounds like she's tired and having a hard time getting back into the school routine. You gave her several different options and she rejected them all which shows me she's just tired. I think she needs to just get back into the routine.

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answers from San Francisco on

I have not had a chance to go through all the responses, so sorry if this is a repeat. Personally, I know that if I gave in to my first grader about something like that once, he would beg to do it all the time! I don't want to go down that road, but that's just me. I'm not saying to completely ignore the situation but that this is not the right way to go about solving it.

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answers from Miami on

No. Under these circumstances you should not let her stay home from school for "no reason" because you are teaching her a new "routine". Her job at this age is to go to school. Send her and get her back "into routine".

She is already experiencing some level of anxiety if she's crying and cannot identify a reason. Call the school psychologist and fill him/her in on what's going on and ask for help! We (I am/was one) are used to these calls and it's what we do! I assure you, though, the answer will be to bring her to school each and every day and let them help her once she's there.

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answers from Washington DC on

Have you considered that maybe she is struggling this week because she is overly tired? A couple of things you said remind me of an overly tired child. Vacation, then home and a fun party, maybe she just has not caught up on sleep yet? I am so sensitive to stuff like this, and my oldest son is too. I recall going to Disney once for like 5 days, and we were up late, and out of bed early the whole time, and so much running around. He held up OK during the fun exciting vacation stuff, but then on the way home from vacation he "crashed" and could not get it together emotionally for a week or so. Crying for no reason, crying too easy, etc. Also, getting up earlier than normal is a typical sign of over-tired behavioir. I would recommend trying to move her bed time earlier by an hour or a half hour or so for the next few days and see if that helps. Otherwise, I think getting back into, and staying in, the normal routine asap helps the most.

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answers from Washington DC on


If you believe your daughter might suffer from depression later in life - why not help her now and get her to a therapist so she can lean how to deal with her stressors and not sink into a deep hole?

She had you for a week. Now she's back in school. She's seven years old. Give her a big hug and tell her you miss her during the day as well.

As to letting her stay home? Sure...it's called a mental health day. Talk with your boss and see if you can take Friday off or Monday and stay home with your daughter - get a manicure and pedicure...do girl things...

However, I would not make a habit of it. Get her involved in hobbies and things that will broaden her horizons and also give her a chance to meet new people and have new friends.

Good luck!

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answers from Dallas on

No, I would not allow her to just stay home from school.

If you do that, you are setting up a pattern that she can run away anytime she has an issue and not address the issue.

Avoiding an issue does not make it go away, most likely it will become a bigger issue.

I know you are trying to help her. Teach her how to deal with the times that are a little more difficult. Continue your communication and be loving with her. I'm betting she will be just fine once she has some adjustments and learns that school is her job just like you have a job.

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answers from Redding on

Ummm, no....I wouldn't let my son stay home just because he wanted to.

I raised two kids as a full-time working, single mother. It wasn't always easy on them, but mommy had to work to make money for us. There were plenty of times my youngest really wanted me to just stay home with him, and that would have been lovely, but I just couldn't do it.

One morning he'd been dawdling around more than usual. He came to me in the kitchen and handed me the thermometer. He said, "Mom, you better take a look. According to this, I am technically really sick. I better stay home".
I took one look at the thermometer and said, "Hmmmm. According to this, you are tecnically DEAD. Here's a bit of advice...don't let the water get so hot before you run it under. Better luck next time".
He was shocked and amazed. He couldn't figure out how I knew what he did. (As if he invented that trick).
It really was funny and I hugged him. I told him I wished we could stay home together, but we both had our jobs to do. I promised him we'd do something special when I got home from work.

Now....I have a friend with a 7 year old daughter and the only time that girl isn't crying is when she's asleep. She cries over EVERYTHING and it's a whiney cry that makes you feel like your ears are going to start bleeding.
She has lots of friends, she's involved in sports, she a good student (except for the cry/whining). The mom gets her feelings hurt because even members of her own family will take the two little kids, but they won't take the 7 year old because they know she's going to cry the whole time.
"Some of my tater tots are broken". "My pancake isn't round". "I want a PURPLE popsicle!" If they say they only have purple popsicles and she has the choice of not having one, then she cries and says they're being mean because they won't let her have one.

Her mom has had her checked a thousand times and there is nothing physically wrong with her. I'm not sure I'd say that she's even an overly emotional child. She clearly just hasn't learned any coping skills for dealing with things like a broken tater tot. It doesn't affect the taste. She's going to chew it up anyway. Before you think that she might be a little OCD about things, she dresses herself and could care less if she has mismatched socks on or her clothes don't match. But God forbid if she wants to wear a certain shirt and it's in the laundry.......MELTDOWN. Instead of just wearing the shirt the next day when it's clean.

Your daughter may be an anxious child. I'd talk to her pediatrician about it.
I think she'd do better with learning some coping skills as opposed to just staying home when she wants to. Mirror what she says so she knows you hear her. "I know you'd like to go back to the trampoline place. You had a really great time. It would be nice to go back, but today is a school day. Your teacher and your friends will miss you if you aren't there. Wash your face, get to school, and we'll talk about it more when I get home. I love you and want you to have a great day."

Little kids want to be where they want to be. They want to do what they want to do. That's totally normal. But, it's also normal for them to understand it's not the end of the world if they don't get everything they want when they want it. It sucks, but it doesn't work that way for adults either.

Talk to the pediatrician. He may be able to give you a referral for someone who can work with your daughter on her coping skills and get to the bottom of her emotions. At her age, they do "play therapy" and can really learn a lot about what's going on with a child. If you're concerned about depression, I think this is the best route to go. She can get evaluated without even realizing what's going on. The therapist can help you with strategies.

Just my opinion.
Best wishes.

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answers from Jacksonville on

I am left wondering when you started catering to this drama? I don't mean to sound harsh, maybe she is really just THAT sensitive about EVERYthing. But usually, kids pick that up from somewhere along the way--- as in, they are given that amount of control.

My kids never missed school because they just didn't want to go. Period.
One is in 6th this year, and one is in 9th. Son (elder) has been enrolled in 5 different schools (if you count k4 and the switch from middle to high school campuses). If any child had a reason to be nervous and not want to go... I'd say he falls into that rightly... but he has never created drama over it. Why? Not because he is some super extroverted personality who Thrives on change and new people and situations... certainly not. I suspect it has more to do with him knowing that we simply expect that he will go to school. There is no question that he will do it. It is expected. And so he expects it of himself. Same with daughter. Only she attended a fewer number of schools since she went to the same K4 as Kindergarten.

Somewhere, I would guess, your daughter is picking up cues that if she is dramatic and overly "sensitive" about things, then she can avoid what she doesn't want to do/deal with. Consistency (both in what you require AND your attitude about it) can go a long way to help resolve this. Just the fact that you offered (to your 7 year old) to call your boss and tell him you'd be late and take her to school (instead of whatever was originally/ordinarily supposed to happen) speaks volumes. Look at how much power your daughter has. Why? She's 7.
You may not realize it, but giving her that power also makes her more anxious---because she can't rely on you to make anything consistent. Seems to me like she is crying out for it (literally).

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answers from Chicago on

My first response is no, because it teaches that you can run away from those things that are hard or bothering you. Of course, her day at home is going to be wonderful and she'll be sent the clear message that if I just avoid all the stuff that makes me upset, I'll be happy. Not realistic.

Since you said there is a large history of mental illness, I'm wondering if speaking to a professional now would be helpful. Not to diagnose or give her a label, but a child psychologist can give your daughter some tools that will help her (and you) deal with those things that are causing her anxiety and sadness.

Better to give her all the tools you can now because it will get harder as she gets older. Now it's very easy to say "We're going to go talk to Mr. XXX." (you wouldn't even need to refer to him/her as a doctor. She will have no preconceived notion of the (unfortunate) stigma that may go along with seeing a psychologist. And as she gets older she'll be more likely to fight with you about going, then you have a battle of wills on your hands.

Get her in the habit now, make her comfortable with the idea of speaking with someone about her feelings and troubles.

This is what I would do if I were in your position, especially considering her family history. Your sweet daughter is in pain. ((hugs))

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answers from Raleigh on

I never let my son (1st grader) stay home from school unless he's sick. He's very sensitive also and prone to getting very frustrated (and sometimes crying), but he's got to learn at some point to work it out and shake it off. He's a perfectionist, and he can get out of sorts over the most mundane things sometimes.
Even so, I can't let him retreat from situations that makes him uncomfortable. Otherwise, he'd be home all the time! We talk through our expectations together, get a few cuddles in, and then he's fine.
Also, please be really careful about labeling with things like depression and anxiety at this age. The same things you mention (good in school, crying, sensitivity, etc) are also signs of giftedness. What may look like one thing could really be another. I would see the school counselor if you worry about depression or anxiety and let them make a professional assessment.

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answers from Portland on

Without having read other answers, from reading your post, it all seems like 'too much'. Too much talking this morning; I think I would have made the decision to send her or keep her home without so many questions "do you want me to/do you want to...?".... this sort of conversation only adds to a child's anxiety. I wouldn't have asked "do you want me to call my boss..." That's really not an appropriate choice to give a 6/7 year old, esp. one who is already upset.

She needs you to take charge. I would be asking the teacher how she is doing once she's at school. This is pretty typical for some kids at this age, regardless of their parents' previous issues (depression/anxiety). OUR uncertainty will make them more anxious, but many kids have their anxieties all on their own.

I know you say that "I know I used to fake being sick sometimes to stay home and it didn't hurt me in the long run which is why i think maybe it's not so bad to let her stay home." I think it does hurt kids in the long run to let them stay home when they aren't legitimately sick. It could potentially be misinterpreted as "mom doesn't think I can handle it either" and it teaches kids that running away from their problems is okay. I'd also have to say that when I faked sick as a kid, I felt like a big liar, so that doesn't bode well for one's self-esteem. I'm actually the kind of person who would have no problem with a parent saying "I'm taking a day off so my kid and I can have a date... I really miss them and want to spend time with them." But when we allow them to stay home because of the issues you describe, it can create future problems.

If I were in your shoes, I would A. make the decisions you feel best, without too much input from her and B. talk to her school counselor too. See what sort of tips he/she has for situations like this. School counselors see this ALL the time-- the kids who have stomachaches, tears, anxiety, etc. regarding going to school-- and they know it's not a 'bad kid' or 'lazy kid' thing. To me, what you describe- crying-- it could have been that she was overtired, or perhaps she's coming down with something? Try to be as confident as you can in making those decision to send her/keep her home and ask for some resources from the school counselor or another counselor if this continues. Good luck!

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answers from Seattle on

You have really only been home for less than a week. She may still be tired from vacation. That being said....
My kid would be at school. If he cried he could go to the nurses and then back to class.
Maybe I am mean. But if my kids are not hurt or sick then my kids go to school.
I have never let my kids skip school. They are almost 8 and almost 11.

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answers from Philadelphia on

yes but not in that sittuation because then she learns if she whines, cries, and keeps you up at night she gets off
however i do think its fun to take a day off together and do something funa nd unexpected, but that day shouldnt be her choice

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answers from Rockford on

Ok, whether you want her labeled or not, you need to get her some help. If she is already suffering anxiety, it will only worsen if you just pretend it's not so bad. As a mom w/ a child who has ADD, I would rather have him labeled and be treating the problem, than to have him continue to suffer and fail.

It is scary and overwhelming, but in the long run you will all be happier. It's not just help for her, it's help for you and your husband in HOW to deal w/ her and WHAT you can do to help her!

It's not fun to always be worried, nervous and feel overwhelmed. Please get her some help. Good luck w/ this.

**O, and to the letting her stay home...I guess it just depends. I want to say yes, I might, but then there's that part of me that would want to say, "no, this is life, you have to go to school because that's how it is." Make sense? Not that it would be that cold and w/out some support, but you get what I mean.

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answers from New York on

I don't think so. She needs to learn that she has to get up and go no matter how she is feeling. Learning this now will help in the future. Yes, we all need mental health days but she was just on vacation.

It sounds like you should be having a chat with the school psychologist - she might need some therapy/intervention.

Best of luck!

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answers from Springfield on

Please don't confuse sensitive with anxiety and depression. I am an extremely sensitive person. My emotions tend to be very strong (good and bad), and that is not even remotely the same thing as anxiety and depression.

I just really want to encourage you to be aware, but you might want to try to back off. I really could be off base here (so hard to tell from one post), but it sounds like it could become a mom-fulfilled prophecy. Try to help her find ways to cope even though she's nervous.

Also, keep in mind that often times when we wake from a bad dream we don't always remember the dream, but the emotions can really stick with us. I can't tell you the number of mornings I've had to remind myself that I'm not really mad at anyone, I was just mad in my dream. I might not be able to remember the dream, just the feeling of being mad. But that's not because of anything my husband or kids did. It was just a dream.

She might not be able to tell you why she was upset, because it was something in her dream. Very likely!

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answers from Augusta on

I'm sorry but NO.
I don't care how "unhappy" they are at school , if they aren't sick mine go to school.
You can't keep letting her run away from her problems. sounds like she manipulating you, she'd rather stay home and have fun than learn so she's telling mom she doesn't want to go and mom says sure hunny why not.
Well what are you teaching her??
Like I told my daughter , she was BEGGING me to homeschool her because she had trouble with some bullies, well I explained to her that she will have people all her life that she doesn't like , she needs to learn to deal with them. Running away won't fix it. She stood up to them finally. now she still has problems in school every now and then but now she's a happier child and she knows she can handle them.

sure she's only 7 but that's where it starts. it is NOT ok to skip school just cause she doesn't want to go.

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answers from San Antonio on

I agree with the other responders that said that she is probably having a mixture of Spring Fever and her routine being disrupted last week. She will get back to "normal" faster if you keep her in the same routine.

Secondly, as a teacher who is currently home with my own sick child, I would say no to staying home unless there is a specific illness. Work ethic is something teachers struggle with time and time again. Parents often don't realize that when they keep their children home, for a "fun day" or "mental health day", they are not only missing the actual work that was done that day, but also all of the instruction that goes into accomplishing that work. When my students are absent, I spend a crazy amount of time e-mailing home assignments, putting together packets of work to be picked up, and meeting with students before or after school to go over the instruction that was missed in class. Trying to boil down a day of instruction (when I taught elementary) into 10 or 15 minutes so that I can get key points across is very difficult, and often leads to more anxiety on behalf of the students. That is also why I try to limit my own absences in any way possible, as it is much more work to prepare for a substitute than it is to do things myself. I love it when parents e-mail or call and ask me "If we are doing anything on ____ day, because they are keeping their child home.". There is not a single day that goes by that we do NOTHING in class. If there were, I highly doubt that I would be long for this job. School is much more high stakes now with all of the testing (which is a whole different rant of mine), that when students miss a day they can miss vital information that can be hard to be recovered.

Good luck with your daughter. I hope she is able to get some relief from her anxiety about school soon.

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answers from Louisville on

I would. Mental health is important .... instead of thinking of it as letting her stay home for no reason, consider it a mental health day. Everyone needs those from time to time.

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answers from Chicago on

I haven't had a chance to read it but I have a book on my kindle called : freeing your child from negative thinking. Depression runs in my family. I'm hoping to use this book, and the book " the chemistry of joy," to make sure my kids have the tools to never experience real depression.

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answers from San Francisco on

Yes, she should be able to skip school now and again. Adults call those "mental health days."

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answers from New York on

So much depends on the kid, the class environment, and other things you just can't measure.

MY younger child is a resiliant kid - nothing bothers him, etc. He is rarely sick and when he says he doesn't feel good I know he's sick so he stays home. But he will ask to stay home becuase he doesn't feel like going and my answer is no way. He also needs to work a little harder to do well so it's vital that he doesn't miss days.

My older child is different. We now know she has a mental health disorder - she's had it all her life and she's much more sensitive and difficult to deal with. Little things bother her alot. Sounds, a face someone makes, a comment made in passing, will all stick with her for hours and she'll ruminate and worry and get upset about it. Her reactions are disproportionate - and they always have been. She's either thrilled & euphoric or she hates the world or she thinks the world hates her. She has a type of emotional dysregulation. When she was small I would let her stay home once in a while if she was just so upset. I didn't let her stay home nearly as much as she wanted (maybe 1 out of 15-20 requests) but as much as 5 times a year. She needed it and we didn't really understand it at the time but knew she was just so overwrought, anxious, tearful at the thought of school.

Every kid is different. She's tough for me to understand becuase I am like my son - nothing bothers me. I look at other's poorly worded comments as mistakes, or unintended. I realize that 98% of what we deal with is "small stuff" and I try to not sweat the small stuff. So to have a child that is hyper-senstive emotionally has taken a while for me to "get". Having researched her disorder and learned how best to respond and help her has been the difference between night and day for her and for us.

You're her mom - you know her best. If she needs a day to re-set after vacation, or if she is having a tough time facing the kids in the class due to her internal issues I don't think it's damaging to have her home for a day. My now 16 yr old daughter has come a very long way and has learned how to handle adversity and difficulty by just keeping moving forward.

Good luck mama - you sound like a mom who knows her child.

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answers from Washington DC on

If this is a re-occuring problem, I would consider a child therapist. Something is making her anxious. Someone posted on another thread that 7 is an age where they can get competitive so maybe this is how that is manifesting in her? I would have simply said, "You can go to the nurse if you get to school and don't feel well" and sent her to school. My DD will sometimes say she wants to do x and y and I'll say, "I'm glad you had fun. Maybe we'll go back again." and then get her ready for school or wherever we need to go. IMO, I think that not feeding the drama is important, too. I wouldn't have kept her home for "mommyitis" or something unknown.

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answers from Hartford on

One comment you made really stuck out that I feel should be addressed.

"She is only 7... And of course I worry she's going to really suffer from anxiety and depression when she's older if she's like this now. SHe has a great life! She does very well in school, super sweet teacher, and enough friends."

Since you've suffered from depression yourself, I'm sure you know this, but maybe not... Depression has NOTHING to do with how wonderful and happy life is. Anxiety has little to do with how amazing and great life and circumstances are. Can there be situational depression and anxiety? Well yeah, but people that suffer from Depressive Disorders and Anxiety Disorders suffer from them INDEPENDENTLY OF situations and circumstances.

So while your daughter's life might be perfect in all ways, if she suffers from an anxiety disorder, you won't be able to "logic her out of it." Just like when someone who has Clinical Depression or is in a downswing of BiPolar Disorder is feeling depressed you can't just boost them up out of it with shopping trips, compliments, ice cream, and chick flicks.

What would be good for your daughter is a pediatric psychiatrist that can evaluate her and give her frequent talk therapy. That would allow her to develop coping skills for her anxiety and any other issues, and help you figure out how to help her. You could also figure out if there's something that really needs attention, and it's easier if you can identify it earlier. Plus, knowing that there's a family history means you have that heads up and can let the doctor know and you can learn what to look out for in a child.

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answers from Honolulu on

Is this the only time she's acted like this?
Or is it something she is, all the time?
If it is just now, then it is possibly because she "misses" the trip and what she did on the trip etc.
Sort of like being "home sick" but missing the trip. It must've been fun for her etc. And young kids don't always transition back to the regular routines, so quick.
Being on a trip, is pure fun. Carefree. Not having any "responsibility" etc.
For a young child, going back to school and the responsibilities and chores and everyday life, can be "junk" in comparison. They MISS the fun they had on their trip.
And also, some kids have a hard time going back to school, after a school vacation, or after the summer. For example. It is another "transition" time, and them getting back into the swing of things. And they resist, that.

If anything, just send her to school. Tell the school Counselor and the Teacher. At my kids' school, for the young one's, there is a Counselor there that helps kids per transitioning back to school etc. or for any reasons. I did that for my daughter, when she was in Kindergarten.
But let the Teacher know. A Teacher needs to know these things.

I work at my kids' school. My son is also in 1st grade and is 6.
Everyday, I see the younger one's sometimes crying. Why? Well, they had been on a trip. Or, they simply "miss" it and their Mommy. Which is fine and normal. They are just having a bit of trouble, switching back to going back... to school. And not being at home or with their family... on vacation. For some kids, it takes a bit of time for them to adjust back to "reality" and their everyday responsibilities and routines.

Per your question on your post-- my son has gotten like that before, too.... after a vacation and when having to go back to school. He'd be all sad and crying, not, wanting to go to school. But it was because, he had been home with us on vacation. I know that. I STILL send him to school... and once there, he is FINE.
Kids go through... these things too. Sort of like being "home sick."
They miss and long for... the fun they have while on vacation, and not having to do anything or any "work" per school.

I think, your daughter is FINE.
I would not call this "depression."
It is simply a situational transition, issue.
She just had, a fun filled vacation trip.

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answers from Washington DC on

In this case I would make her go to school. Sometimes I keep my kids home for a fun day and I'll take the day off of work. I plan to do this soon before it gets too hot. We'll go walk around our local favorite place, have lunch, check out the shops, whatever. It's nice to do that sometimes.

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answers from New York on

I do agree that some of the responses to your question (one in particular) have been a little harsh. But I don't think a day off school is ultimately a good idea.

You've got a sweet, sensitive kid who's looking for solutions to her anxieties. If you offer her a day off from school, there's her solution. It's too hot -- day off from school. She wishes she could go on a trampoline -- day off from school. You see where this could go? It's a sweet, generous impulse on your part to offer her that, but she sounds like she's got some avoidant tendencies, and as someone who's got a little of that going on too -- she needs a better alternative.

Really, your best option might be a big-girl version of a lovey. Could you give her, say, a charm bracelet, where one charm will give her good luck with friends and another charm will remind her that it's okay not to get a perfect grade on a test -- all she has to do is try?

Another -- very simple -- tactic is just to talk up the good parts of school -- before she has a chance to think about not wanting to go. So, first thing in the morning, before she says a word about not going, can you start with "Good morning, sunshine, it's Thursday. Remember how you and Annie and Susie had so much fun on the playground? I bet they can't wait to see you again. I bet they're so excited about playing with you, they're trying to get to school early today." Etc.

Those are just a few random thoughts, but in general, I guess my message is that it's wonderful to be sensitive and tuned in to a child's anxieties, but at the same time, you can help to gently strengthen her coping mechanisms.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Wow! Why are you projecting anxiety and depression onto a 7 year old?? Is there more to this story?

She might just be going through a phase. Giving her coping skills would be an excellent way to help her cope when she's feeling out of sorts. Giving her a cop out to not go to school is not the answer.

As we grow up and mature there are plenty of things we do not want t do. We all need to learn at an early age that we need to suck it up, do it, make the best of it, and work through our difficulties.

Since being off of her routine for vacation, have you gotten back into the habit of a normal bedtime, normal bedtime ritual, etc? The more you stick to a schedule the better off she will be.

Talk to your daughter and her teacher to see if there is anything going on at school. Is there anybody giving her trouble? In first grade they are still very much working on their interpersonal skills. They take many years to develop.

Accept your daughter for who she is. Don't try to label her with the way you think she will be. Maybe she will be a sensitive child. What is wrong with that? Let her be who she is and help her to smooth out the bumps along the way. Don't let her cop out when the going gets tough.

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answers from Salinas on

No, I would not let my first grader stay home because she wanted to stay home. If you can not stand your ground with a first grader what do you think you will be dealing with in middle school and high school?

It is heart breaking to hear your child say things. The last day of Christmas break my son was telling me how some kids in Kindergarten were kicking him in the ribs/stomach because he could not do a cartwheel and did not want to go back. In reality it was once girl and i am guessing she has issues. Anyway, he went to school and was back to normal and playing with friends.

On a side note, I have heard of families giving their child a 'free day' if they have been healthy the school year and it was towards the end of the year. Basically the child did not miss much school and the parents wanted to give the kids a break. I think this is reasonable and on the parents terms. I think of it as a personal day at work.

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answers from Detroit on

Short answer - no.

It would be one thing if she was sick, but she isn't. Like others have said, keeping her home just because she doesn't feel like going isn't doing her any favors or teaching her how to cope with having to deal with things she doesn't want to deal with. It's letting her take the easy way out. In my line of work, I sometimes have to deal with young adults (i.e. 20-somethings) that can't deal with something happening that isn't what they want to happen, and they have no coping skills whatsoever.

My daughter is 5. She asked last summer to take dance classes this school year, and she wanted to take both ballet and tap, so she got enrolled. She's had at times wanted to quit the tap classes, but only because once she hurt her finger by accident with her tap shoe and she was afraid of it happening again. We were already a few months into it and I told her if she quit now, she wouldn't get to be in the recital at the end of the year, and that just wasn't a good enough reason to quit something she had originally begged and pleaded with me to do. Sometimes she has told me she just doesn't want to go (the classes are back-to-back, one day a week) because I think she's just tired, but missing a class means she has to make it up another day and I don't want to have to do that if it's not really necessary. So I just sympathize with her to a point, then tell her she's still going. Suck it up kid.

Now, my daughter is not a child with social anxiety issues or anything else like that. In your case, I would agree that it would probably be good to get some help for her now and try to get a grip on it, before it gets worse and harder to manage.

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answers from Seattle on

You don't diagnose her first, and then take her to see a therapist or psychiatrist. You take her to a child psychiatrist/psychologist to help evaluate her mental state to see if it falls outside of "normal" range. The evaluation should be left to the doc. Then, if the doc think there is an issue, your daughter can get help.

It sounds like it might be time to consult a professional. Especially given the family history. These issues (as you are probably aware) do tend to show up very early in life.

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answers from Dallas on

I have not let them stay home just because but they have never been like your daughter. But I was a lot like her and I wish my parents would have done something to help me know be like that when I was young. Because I still stress over almost everything I honestly would see if you could get her in to see a councilor and see if they have any ideas of how to help her so she dosn't work herself up.

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answers from New York on

My now 2nd grader was incredibly anxious too in 1st grade. There were times that he too complained of stomach aches. When I forced him to go, he would worry himself so much that he would vomit in class. I ended up taking him to the doctor for anxiety. The doctor said all of these were symptoms of being 7 and in 1st grade. He urged me to find any book about 7 year olds and read it. I did, and it was easier to help him through his anxiety. Hope this helps some.

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answers from San Francisco on

Ditto pretty much what everyone else said. She's tired and getting back into the school routine, and a lot of kids have spring fever, it's very normal. Letting her miss a day just because she doesn't feel like going isn't a habit you want to start. If the crying spells and unexplained sadness continues, speak to the school psychologist, that's what they are there for!

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answers from New York on

I haven't read all the answers yet, either, so this also may be a repeat. It sounds like your question is more about the worries you have about your daughter, and less about whether you should have kept her out of school for that one day. Have you considered a play therapist for her? My son is very sensitive also, and meets with a play therapist once a week (he has other issues, too, that we are addressing at home and school, so they all work together as a team). The best part about it is that the therapist is in my insurance network, so it is practically free (just mentioning that because I don't know if you would necessarily consider a play therapist to be covered by health insurance).
Good luck.

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answers from Salinas on

No and get your family some counseling to deal with this asap!

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answers from Norfolk on

I'd check with her teacher to see if there's anything going on over there that she's trying to avoid - a hard subject, a test/quiz, someone picking on her, what ever.
Avoiding it doesn't make it go away.
If she's tired, she needs to go to bed earlier.
If she's got an anxiety problem she needs to be seeing a doctor about it.

Don't be borrowing trouble by thinking she'll 'suffer from anxiety and depression'.
Routine is good - everyone knows what to expect.
Boundaries are good.
Knowing the rules and adhering to them and not bargaining/negotiating to get around them is good.

People cry for all sorts of reasons - happy, sad, overwhelmed, tired, pain, shock, excitement, etc.
It can be cathartic - once the 'storm' is over there is a calm.
Maybe she just needs a good cry in the morning to organize herself for the day.
In that case, get her to bed early enough so you can get her up early enough to have her cry, pull herself together and get on with her school day.

She doesn't get to decide when she will and won't go to school.
If she's unhappy at school, work to resolve the reason.
No kidding school isn't as much fun as a trampoline place.
We've ALL got things we'd rather be doing than dealing with work/school/whatever.
She needs to start learning about this now.

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answers from Detroit on

letting kids stay home from school for no real reason is a slippery slope... it can easily get out of hand with too many absences.

I know we took my kids out of school for 4 days for a vacation early in the school year.. then they proceeded to collect every germ imaginable this year.. so they have a ton of absences.

I might let it happen once... even adults need a mental health day... but if there was a half day or another scheduled day off in the near future.. the answer would be no.. go to school you have next Tuesday off for a teacher take a break day..

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answers from Cleveland on

No I would not give in to a tantrum which is what you are doing.

Now you know to plan even more extra days onto the end of your trip so that she can adjust once you get home. What i'm trying to say is that ifyou get back on a saturday plan to take off the next Mon-weds to be with her, if it is that bad. That to me is different than allowing her to manipulate the situation and be in control of when you decide to let her stay home.

Second, if she is as gentically suseptable to mental illness as you say, then what could you change in your life and do with out, so that you could be home with her and raise her in a more secure enviroment. Nanny thing isn't the same as mom, To me the story you wrote about shows that she needs you to be home with her and not be working period. Is there something in your life you can change so that can happen?

At the very very very least. if she throws another fit like this and you decide she is too unstable for school, and chose to let her stay home, Then it isn't a day for watching cartoons, or doing crafts with mom, or even playing barbies, IT is a SIT on your bed and be alone and get your self under control day. come down for lunch Then back up you go. no attention from mom for throwing a fit. Sit in your room and cry if that is what it come down to, BUT i bet you that that wouldn't last for long, if she was seriously tired, or getting sick, she would fall asleep and wake up happy, or if she was being manipulative she would connect the dots and realize being a school with your friends is a whole lot more fun.

I think the reason some of this advice from myself and others has sounded harsh is because it seems like you are making excuses for your dd instead of doing something to help her. I know you said you don't baby her all the time, and honestly what they heck do i know from this one little part of your life with her that you chose to share, I;'m not seeing the whole picture. so When you read this, understand that it is a stranger focusing in on just a little part of it. and if what we see doesnt' fit the big picture then ignore it and if it does maybe hearing someone else, even a random cyber mommy confirm what you are already starting to realize will help you figure out what your dd needs most , if it's consistent expectations, or if it's a professional evaluation or what ever. I"m pretty sure that everyone who toook the time to answer wants the best for your dd.


answers from Kansas City on

honestly, if it is so bad you are keeping her home from school then you should have used that day to take her to a doctor and start figuring this out, imo. school is not just something you go to when you feel like it. it sounds to me like she has some real issues. i can see moments of sadness, even drama like you're describing...but day after day, for a week? get her some help mama. that's not right. you say that because you've dealt with it, you're hyper sensitive to it - but i disagree. i think you feel this kind of behavior is no big deal. trust me, it's not right. you need to get her help NOW. (and i have to agree that you seem to baby her through it and give her attention over it- warranted or not, it is going to exacerbate the situation. and if it's gone on for some time, then yeah, it's a hard cycle to break.) i think it's probably a combination of both emotional issues, and being cossetted because of it. but still, not normal or ok.



answers from Rochester on

A thought for your gentle little girl - maybe school is too much overall - and she needs a more home-based approach. check into waldorf education and rudolph steiner's works, and maybe you can find some things to help you in your journey, home schooling or public schooling.

Good luck,

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