With school in full swing; many children, as well as teachers and parents, may be overwhelmed with busy schedules, homework, tests, after-school activities, and managing time and relationships. Kids may be feeling added pressure to achieve good grades, do well on tests, and keep up with their friends. This can add an incredible amount of stress and anxiety.
As adults, we have a better chance of effectively sharing our feelings, but children can often have great difficulty identifying, understanding, and communicating their emotions. Teaching children how to effectively cope and manage their stress is vitally important for them to succeed in the classroom, in their relationships, and in life. If we teach these skills to all children, then we can help ensure that no child is left feeling alone with their struggle.
- A change in appetite
- Inability to sleep
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Excessive crying, emotional outbursts, or irritability
- Refusal to go to school
There are many ways to help support a child who is struggling with anxiety. Encouraging open communication, expressing support and nurturing strengths, setting realistic expectations, and providing opportunities for relaxation are all beneficial.
Within the classroom, educators can play a vital role in helping support a safe and nurturing environment. The Schools for Hope Program, offered free by the International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression, is a research-based curriculum that focuses on teaching hope for prevention and wellness. Within the program, students learn about brain health helping them to understand the connection between their thoughts, emotions, and their body's reaction.
Practicing stress-reducing techniques such as deep breathing, visualization, and meditation provide specific tools for children to utilize when feeling anxious. When our minds and bodies are calm, we are once again able to think clearly, focus, and make good decisions.
If you are concerned about a child, please seek professional help.
For helpful anxiety resources, please visit www.anxiety.org.