Problems with anxiety are not uncommon in childhood. Recently, there has actually been a rise in anxiety and related conditions among school aged children. There is much concern over the impact of the pandemic and virtual schooling on children’s mental health. Many parents are also concerned that their children’s education has fallen by the wayside.
If your child struggles with anxiety symptoms or an anxiety disorder, then helping them to study and complete school work can sometimes feel impossible. Luckily, there are many ways to help your child feel comfortable, confident, and prepared in their studies despite anxiety.
Diagnosing and Treating Anxiety
Children with anxiety show a variety of signs and symptoms. Some children might have physical symptoms, and complain of frequent headaches or stomach aches. They might panic, be easily embarrassed, or avoid the activities, people, and places that make them feel anxious. (2) The powerful feelings of anxiety can make it extremely difficult to focus on school assignments.(2)
If your child is showing physical symptoms of any kind, it’s important to first make sure that there isn’t a condition besides anxiety that is causing their symptoms. Your pediatrician can determine if the symptoms are being caused by anxiety or another condition. If anxiety is determined to be the problem, then certain types of therapy — such as cognitive-behavioral therapy — might be suggested.
Helping Your Child with Anxiety to Study
After your child has been evaluated for anxiety treatment, try the following tips for calmer study sessions:
- Practice mindful relaxation exercises before studying. Breathing exercises,(2) kids’ yoga, meditation, and even simple exercises, like walking, can help to reduce anxiety before the study session.
- Spend time outdoors. If possible, encourage your child to spend time outdoors before studying. Being in nature can help boost their mental health.
- Understand the root of your child’s anxiety. Conversations with your child, as well as your child’s therapist, can help you understand the key things that make your child anxious. Take the time to carefully ask your child about the parts of school that make them uncomfortable. Reading children’s books that are about anxious characters, for example, is one way to help your child open up about their own struggles. The understanding that you gain will help guide your study planning. (1)
- Talk with your child’s teacher. Your child’s teacher might be able to give you a sample of an upcoming quiz or offer other suggestions to help your child relax during study time.(1)
- Structure your study sessions. A consistent study schedule and routine in a well-organized place will give your child a sense of control.(1)
- Offer encouraging words. Sometimes, a comforting word can make all the difference. Help your child to remember the many times that they succeeded in the past, despite their fears. You might even help them come up with their own mantra for school work.(2)
Services Offered at NeuroBehavioral Associates
NeuroBehavioral Associates offers comprehensive assessment and treatment services for children with suspected or known learning, cognitive, or neurodevelopmental differences. NeuroBehavioral Associates continues to provide in-office assessments, consultation, and therapy services during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are using telehealth tools to complement our in-office visits.
- Wright, L. W. (2019, October 16). 9 Tips for Helping Grade-Schoolers Cope With Test Anxiety. Understood.Org. https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/learning-at-home/homework-study-skills/9-tips-for-helping-grade-schoolers-with-learning-and-thinking-differences-cope-with-test-anxiety
- Division of Student Life. (2018, November 19). Anxiety While Studying. Deakin University. https://www.deakin.edu.au/students/health-and-wellbeing/counselling/topics-to-explore/mental-health/anxiety