According to Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality healthcare, school anxiety is a common concern among children and their parents.
School anxiety can manifest in various ways, such as difficulty sleeping, stomach aches, and avoidance of school. Left unchecked, school anxiety can lead to poor academic performance, social isolation, and even physical illness.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, school anxiety is caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and developmental factors. Children with a family history of anxiety or who have experienced trauma may be more prone to developing school anxiety.
Here are 10 tips from Affinity Health to help children cope with school anxiety:
1. Talk to your child about their concerns and validate their feelings
Creating an open and supportive environment where your child feels comfortable discussing their worries and fears is essential. Listen actively and try to understand their perspective. Validate their feelings by acknowledging that their emotions are real and understandable.
2. Create a consistent and predictable daily routine
Having a regular schedule can help reduce uncertainty and provide a sense of structure and stability. Set a consistent bedtime, establish a morning routine, and have a designated time for homework and other after-school activities.
3. Encourage physical activity and a healthy diet
Exercise and proper nutrition can have a positive impact on mental health and can help reduce stress and anxiety. Encourage your child to participate in physical activities that they enjoy, and ensure that they are eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious foods.
4. Establish a calm and organised environment at home
A cluttered and chaotic environment can add to feelings of stress and anxiety. Help your child create a calm and organised space to work and study, and try to minimise distractions in the home.
5. Encourage your child to express their feelings through art or writing
Artistic expressions, such as drawing, painting, or writing, can be a helpful outlet for children to process their emotions and express themselves. Let your child use these creative outlets to express their feelings and thoughts about school.
6. Set small and achievable goals for your child
Breaking down larger goals into smaller, more manageable tasks can help your child feel a sense of accomplishment and progress. Encourage your child to set small, achievable goals and celebrate their successes along the way.
7. Help your child develop relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation
Teaching your child relaxation techniques can help them healthily manage stress and anxiety. Some techniques include deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualisation.
8. Motivate your child to participate in enjoyable activities outside of school
It’s important for children to have a well-rounded and fulfilling life outside of school. Motivate your child to participate in extracurricular activities that they enjoy, such as sports, music, or clubs.
9. Consider seeking support from a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counsellor
If your child’s anxiety persists or significantly impacts their daily life, it may be helpful to seek the support of a mental health professional. A therapist or counsellor can work with your child to identify the root causes of their anxiety and develop coping strategies.
10. Work with your child’s school to create a supportive and understanding learning environment
Communicate with your child’s teacher and school administration to ensure they know your child’s anxiety and can provide appropriate support. Together, you can create a positive and understanding learning environment that helps your child feel safe and supported.
“It’s important to address school anxiety as soon as possible to prevent it from escalating and harming your child’s overall well-being,” says Murray Hewlett (CEO of Affinity Health.
“The good news is that with the right support and the implementation of coping strategies, children can learn to manage their anxiety and succeed in school.”