Helping children with anxieties about school – Dr Colton
June 26, 2020
Parents know that school can be stressful for children at times. Whether it’s down to some of the more common causes like exams, homework, or comparing themselves to their classmates, there are a lot of potential sources of pressure.
In fact, our new research found that 61 per cent of children have experienced ‘educational anxiety’ – fear or stress around issues with school or learning. On average, this anxiety starts at age 8, but some feel it from as young as 2.
While often these worries ebb and flow, fading over time as children face up to new challenges, it can become more serious if not identified and addressed. What’s more, changes to routine and outside stresses can make it more difficult to deal with anxiety around education.
That’s why, with COVID-19 still currently a part of the fabric of life and with a great deal of uncertainty remaining over the transition back into regular schooling, this is an important time to be aware of child mental health.
The next six months will see a raft of logistical challenges taking up the time and energy of teachers and staff in schools, with demands upon them post-pandemic likely to be even greater than before.
What’s more, time spent away from the classroom is likely to have increased educational divides. This is where extracurricular support can be of significant benefit. Explore at Home from Explore Learning is one tool that can help parents keep their children on track – whether they are still waiting to go back to the classroom or are there already and want support in getting back into the swing of things.
Explore at Home is here to support your family. Our online tutoring and learning platform is helping children to stay engaged with their learning and bridge the gap between social distancing and going back to school, making the transition that much smoother when it comes.
As well as giving your child a helping hand with their learning, there are simple ways that you can help them avoid feeling anxious about education and the return to school. We worked with clinical psychologist Dr Anna Colton on some tips on supporting your child.
10 tips to cope with educational anxiety, from Dr Anna Colton
1. Tell your child that they are good enough.
This will instil self-esteem and allow them to take risks and flourish.
2. Talk to their teacher or the school as soon as possible.
If you have concerns about either your child’s learning or anxiety work with the school to address your concerns.
3. Be transparent.
Talk with your children about what’s going on and address any coronavirus specific concerns head-on. Children can sense when things are being hidden or ‘glossed over’.
4. Tell your child that they can cope and help them to do so.
Don’t be scared of naming feelings – you can’t put ideas in their head by doing this.
5. If your own anxiety is overwhelming, find someone to help you.
This way you will have support and you won’t pass anxiety on to your child.
6. Remember that children develop at different ages and stages.
If your child is developing later than others it doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with them or that they are behind. The developmental process is one that is natural and over which we have little control.
7. Don’t compare children to others.
This causes instant educational anxiety and feelings of inadequacy – on both parts.
8. Don’t allow your child to stay home because they are anxious.
This will only cause the anxiety to grow because they will still have to go to school the next day. Help them work through the anxiety and talk about it rather than avoiding it.
9. Remember that children are like sponges.
They will pick up and absorb whatever it is that you are feeling and communicating even if it’s not explicitly said. If they see you looking anxious about grades they’ll know it’s important to you; if they hear you talking to a teacher or friend about their being behind or not top of the class, they’ll know you’re concerned.
10. Most importantly, remember that a happy, relaxed child learns best and therefore a child’s fit with a school is the key to successful learning.
The most academic school is only right for a child who fits with it. Happy children in a less academic school will do better in every way, including grades, than a less happy child in a very academic school.
We are committed to keep education going and continue helping as many children as possible become fearless learners. Find out how we can support your child today.
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