Growing up, I knew someone that began to have social anxiety…
She always seemed worried about something, and she struggled to complete her work because her mind always seemed to be racing.
It was so obvious, that I was even able to recognize these signs as a kid!
Looking back… I wish I would have done more to help her.
But, I guess that’s what happens a lot in our society. We recognize signs or changes within people, but we don’t take action.
I think it has a lot to do with us not knowing what to say…
Not knowing how to act.
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The truth is… just being there can make a massive impact on these folks’ lives!
So, what happened to the girl I mentioned? Well… she started to avoid school altogether because she just didn’t want to be there.
Last I remember, she was removed from our class and placed in a school environment called homebound services.
This service offered her more one-on-one attention and instruction based on her specific needs.
Mental illness is real, and it affects millions of people.
Every year on October 10th, our nation observes National Mental Health Day.
As a parent and/or educator, it is crucial to look for signs of anxiety within your child.
Anxiety is a struggle for many children and teens. In school, these amazing kids primarily deal with;
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Separation Anxiety
- Social Anxiety
- Panic Disorders
As a parent or educator, it’s essential to look for signs often exhibited by children dealing with large amounts of stress.
Signs Of Anxiety In Children
Many children who experience anxiety begin to show visible changes. These may include;
Many kids suffering from anxiety will become more emotional. As a teacher, parent, or friend… you may begin to notice these children start to worry, panic and feel overwhelmed with everything.
Teenagers and children who experience anxiety may start to worry about being perfect and trying to strive for perfection.
In a lot of cases, anxiety leads to depression. Depression is another mental illness that children, teens, and adults often experience and could have a massive impact on their lives.
Expert Tips To Decrease Anxiety In Children
To help decrease anxiety and prevent depression, here are some tips I use in the classroom. Many of these tips can also be used at home by parents…
Create a Safe Place for Children and Teens
Whether it’s at home in a specific room or an area within a classroom, teens and children must have a place where they can take a moment, breathe, and work through their emotions by themselves.
There are many websites that offer meditation and breathing techniques. Here are two sites I’ve both recommended, and used for breathing techniques;
These sites can also teach you how to make a genuinely calming environment within your classroom or home.
Openly Talk To Your Child/Student
Although it may be an awkward conversation, being open and chatting about their day may help your child feel better about what they are struggling with at school.
Guidance counselors are always a great resource at school for helping teenagers and children through the process of anxiety.
Reading Books About Anxiety
There are many books available that help teach children about anxiety.
Social stories can help children both identify anxiety and overcome the effects this feeling can have. The beautiful thing about social stories is that you can find one specific to your child’s age.
It’s crucial to reassure children that it is okay to get help if they are struggling with anxiety.
Being active can help!
Taking a break and going outside can often help to reduce stress and help children feel free again.
Going outside to play often decreases stress, but also helps to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Another tip I often incorporate in my classroom is dancing and moving around!
This fun activity gives children a brain break and helps them breathe a little more during class!
The site I mentioned earlier, Gonoodle, offers free brain breaks of all kinds! These activities help to reduce, stress and give the children a mental break.
What techniques or activities have you found that work toward reducing anxiety in children?
Please leave a comment below!
~ Taylor Fulcher