How to Avoid Anxiety in the Classroom This School Year
Written by Julie M. Armenta, M.A., Educational & Family Specialist
Sometimes anxiety is seen in our children and unfortunately, it is on the rise in the classroom. More anxiety has been seen due to pressures at school and in society. Symptoms are easily identifiable, including upset and nervous stomach, nail biting, disruptive or angry attitude, ADHD and severe learning or behavior disorders. Here are some tips for a successful school year and how to identify and avoid anxiety in the classroom.
Anxiety Disorders and How to Help
1. General Anxiety:
This happens when children worry about everyday things and situations. The pressures of how to perform in school and struggles with being perfect or living up to parents’ standards are often reasons for anxiety. It’s helpful to support your children in a routine schedule. Discuss goals for the day and prepare the child to relax and perform for what feels comfortable to them. Remind them to always try their best and that is enough.
2. Separation Anxiety:
We tend to see this in our children’s earlier years, such as preschool or Kindergarten. Children have a difficulty of being separated from their parents. It’s beneficial to start kids off early and getting them used to being left alone with other trusted family members or friends for a smooth transition into school programs.
3. Social Anxiety:
Children feel self-conscious about how they look, act and perform, which can make it difficult to participate in class and with peers in social situations. It’s important to put them on sports teams and in activities at a young age to build confidence and esteem to avoid social anxiety in later years. When children are overly-emotional and have a fear of failure or to take risks in the classroom, it can sabotage their performance and efforts in school.
4. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Other Phobias:
Children can get stressed over the little things that they usually can’t control, these can result in anxiety. Kids with OCD try to alternate their anxiety by compulsive rituals, like switching on and off lights, washing hands or other OCD rituals to provide comfort and calmness. Phobias can result to anxiety being consumed and stressed about things around them, such as fear of heights, too many people in one place and so on. It is best to listen to your children on concerns and fears. Providing counseling or family time is highly beneficial to calm your child’s phobias or OCD. It is best to pull them from groups and respect their space and time needed to adjust.
What Should We Do?
Ѽ Model Healthy Behavior:
For our children, we must teach them to build confidence and decision making skills. We need to watch how we handle situations, stress and solutions, so our children can learn healthy living and decision making through us.
Ѽ Praise Positive Behaviors and Skills:
Always listen to your child first, never interrupt or interject while your child is sharing concerns and fears. Validate their feelings, provide solutions and move on. Do not divert from the issues at hand and over comfort. Refrain from negative talk or judgment, which will provide a safe place for your children to share and grow. Learn to put your child’s feelings and experiences into context, which will help your child gain comfort, perspective, resilience, coping skills and more.
Ѽ Creating Structure and Goals:
Good rest, nutrition and communication is an integral part of preventing stressful situations that lead to anxiety. Talking about their day and focusing on new goals daily can provide a safe and effective way to start the day more relaxed. For example, waking up early to prevent the feeling of being rushed and also taking 10 deep breaths between classes. These goals can change daily or weekly to meet your child’s individual needs.
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Julie M. Armenta, MA Founder & Education & Family
28062 Forbes Road. #B
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
It is important as a parent and educator, such as myself, to see the signs and provide comfort continually and constantly for these children to grow, blossom and be successful; not only at home and in school, but also comfortable in their “own skin” and any situation or setting.
Mrs. Armenta and her staff teach strategies for socializing, social thinking, problem-solving skills, coping skills and teaching children how to identify with their feelings of anxiety. We are available for one on one or small group sessions and through counseling, coaching and esteem building classes. At ALA, we can alleviate anxiety and learning and behavior disorders through our individualized and personalized programs for your child. We offer pre-K through adult school and tutoring programs for all learners that move at each child's learning pace and we offer accelerated studies and remediation programs, as well! Your child finally gets the attention and expertise they need and deserve to be successful in school and in life. Call for support in all subjects in your home or at the Academy. We guarantee success!