Saturday, September 7, 2013

Special Education Saturday - Reducing School Anxiety

The weeks prior to the start of school are filled with excitement, hope, and anxiety. Some of those fears have been allayed as children have met their teachers, reconnected with friends, and glimpsed the curriculum for the new academic year.

Some of those fears have intensified.

How can you help your child who may be displaying signs of worry or expressing concerns?

  1. Let them talk. Be sure you give them time to finish before you jump in with advice. 
  2. Don't brush them off. Offer help and resources.
  3. Tell about a time when you had similar problems, what you did, and how things turned out. 
  4. Hide your own anxiety--if you cry or appear upset, this will increase your child's negative emotions.
  5. Don't take their problems on yourself--help them learn problem solving skills
    1. Set up a structure to help them remember papers and homework.
    2. Have them attend tutorials before and after school for extra help.
    3. If they choose not to do their assignments, provide consequences such as a removal of privileges. 
    4. If you need to meet with the teacher, don't go in "attack mode". 
    5. Remember that their whole future doesn't hinge on one assignment. 
  6. If things don't seem to improve, see the school counselor or a mental health professional. 
  7. Remind your child of the positive aspects of their school experience.
How do you help your child cope with school anxiety?