When school is stressful
If you’ve noticed your child being a little ‘up and down’ since starting back to school in September, you’re not alone. Parents nationwide are voicing concerns about children finding it hard to settle, after being on and off school for nearly two years. As the tsunami of school-related anxiety cases grows, online training provider High Speed Training* has put together some tips – equally useful for parents and teachers – for easing kids back into the classroom.
Have an open-communication policy
Encourage kids to know they can come and talk to you anytime about any issues or worries they have. Make sure they know you’re always there to listen.
Talk about it
Discuss how children are feeling and normalise mental health. Awareness of mental health should be embedded into the culture of your child’s school. There are many ways this can happen – for instance in assembly or through awareness days. If, as parents, you’re invited to participate, use this as an opportunity to get involved.
Encourage socialising and hobbies
After missing out on valuable time socialising with other children and engaging in fun group activities, it’s crucial to start easing children back into this as soon as possible. Teachers might try scheduling extra me-time for kids where they take time out of the curriculum just to have fun with each other. At home, parents can help by giving kids lots of opportunities to down-time with other children, and to pursue their own interests.
Look out for the signs
From isolating themselves from friends and activities, lacking concentration, irritability, feeling nauseous to not eating their food - there’s a whole range of tell-tale signs you can pick up on that tell you that your child is struggling. Once you spot several of these signs, you can begin to provide them with the support that they need to manage their anxieties.
Education expert Rosalyn Sword says: ‘Considering 75 per cent of mental illnesses start before a child reaches their 18th birthday, it’s really important to be in tune with a child’s emotions and be able to tell when something a bit more serious is happening. Since the pandemic, children are facing frequent changes which can cause uncertainty and anxiety, ultimately impacting on their mental health and wellbeing, including how they view the world, social settings, and interactions.’