If you have a child with anxiety, you'll know that getting through the school day can sometimes be a real challenge. Online schooling offers a safe and supportive learning environment free from the usual triggers of a traditional school. However, anxiety can be pretty persistent, and your child may well still need help managing it during their online school day.
In this week's blog post, we explore what anxiety actually is and the different forms it can take. Health and Wellbeing expert, Ella Hall, shares her best advice for what you as parents can do to support your child and ease their anxiety symptoms during lessons.
What is anxiety?
The term 'anxiety' can be used to describe normal feelings of unease and worry that all of us experience from time to time. For some though, like your child, these feelings are more constant and can impact their day-to-day lives.
Anxiety is quickly becoming one of the most prevalent mental health conditions in the Western world. Further, 1 in 10 young people experience a mental health disorder, with anxiety being the most common condition.
As you may be well aware, this can then have a significant impact on a child or teenager's education. Some of the different anxiety disorders that can affect your child's schooling include:
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) - the most common form of anxiety, characterised by general persistent and excessive worry. GAD can have both physical and psychological symptoms, such as restlessness, dizziness, trouble concentrating and insomnia.
- Social Anxiety - fear and avoidance of social interactions. Sufferers often fixate on the possibility of being humiliated or scrutinised in social situations. Symptoms include sweating and/or shaking when faced with feared situations.
- Panic Disorder - diagnosed when someone suffers repeated panic attacks. Sufferers often worry excessively over when the next panic attack will occur, and can lead to a fear of leaving the home (see below).
- Agoraphobia - fear or anxiety about either being out of the home on their own, using public transport, being in open spaces, being in a crowd, etc. These situations may trigger panic symptoms for the sufferer, and can make it difficult for them to leave the home for prolonged periods of time.
- Other specific phobias - refers to an excessive fear of a particular object or situation. Common phobias include blood, some animals, flying and heights.
- Separation Anxiety Disorder - excessive fear of being separated from a parent or caregiver which is disproportionate to their age.
Supporting your child with anxiety during school
If your child is so anxious they're unable to cope with mainstream schooling, chances are they'll need continued support during their online education. Luckily, there are a number of ways you can help relieve your child's symptoms during their online school day so they are better able to focus on learning and build their confidence.
Our Wellbeing Team share their most valuable tips below:
- Work with your child to set small, achievable goals. This could be as simple as answering one question in the chat box in every lesson that day.
- Listen to and acknowledge your child's anxieties. Instead of saying 'don't worry about it', try 'I understand you're anxious about this, and I want to help you feel better'. It's important to try and meet them at their level.
- Take breaks. Remind your child that it is ok to let the teacher know if they need a short break during their lesson to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
- Encourage your child to get outside at least once a day. Getting some fresh air and physical activity is a great way to relieve a number of anxiety symptoms.
- Remember to breathe. If your child suffers from symptoms of panic, encourage them to pause for two minutes every hour to take some slow, deep, mindful breaths.
At My Online Schooling, your child's individual needs always come first. Book a call with our Admissions Team. We would be more than happy to discuss how we can help your child who is suffering from anxiety receive the quality education they deserve.