“Anxiety is significantly affecting my child!!” is a line we often hear from parents initially, or when the raw emotions surface.
It’s November—not even half way through the school year and your child is frustrated, anxious and yes—even depressed about school! How can this happen?
What’s worse is that we are hearing this about children in early elementary school!
Yes, we know standards are higher and there is more homework that requires more writing—including math.
However, what we are finding is that so many more students today learn DIFFERENTLY than they have in the past. There seems to be more pressure to read accurately out loud, in order for teachers to know HOW WELL a child decodes—or sounds out words. For children who struggle with this task it makes for creating MORE stress.
Students who are great at building things, especially Legos, or are active learners but have a difficult time learning to read are the students who are at the greatest risk for experiencing anxiety symptoms. The more these kids are asked to do repetitive skills that don’t seem to have any relevance to them, the more upset they become. They start to think of themselves as not being smart because they look around their class and think everyone is getting this. “Why can’t I?”
These children are the same kids that are sensitive, emotional and creative. As adults we observe these kids and wonder “how can they do such amazing things or know how something works but not know how to sound out nonsense syllables?”
The anxiety they are experiencing is coming from the same place that makes them so creative. Helping kids get through their anxiety requires us, as parents, to identify what’s creating it and shift our thinking to help them succeed the way they learn. Turning assignments into something they relate to is a place to start; add movement, pictures and personal experience to help your child gain confidence. Use positive language and complement your child for trying. It might be harder for you to learn the way your child learns. Try having them teach you something and listen to the words they use. When you teach them something, copy and expand on the same language they used.
Once the child has confidence in his or her learning ability, their life at school can dramatically change for the better. The anxiety they feel right now is real! Don’t ignore it. If left to linger it can become a major problem later in school and life.
How can you transform the anxiety into a positive outcome?
1- Realize the problems may be real and you can seize the opportunity to help your child succeed
2- Find the right professional help, where necessary
3- Put an action plan in place to help your child improve his or her results and self-esteem and to reduce anxiety
If you have any questions or concerns please contact Mira directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 561-361-7495