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School Anxiety Tips

If your child is feeling worried about going to school, or you are struggling with their attendance here are some tips to work through together.  

Everyone is different and these are only suggestions. What might work for one child, may not work for another. If one method doesn't work, try a different one the next day.

It can feel stressful when your child is feeling this way, talk to their school so they are able to help you both. 

Push their palms together - Get them to push their palms together, hold tight, release and then repeat or squeeze their fists together as tight as possible and then relax.

7/11 Breathing - Get them to breath in through their nose for 7 seconds and out through their mouth for 11 seconds. This technique is a great way to feel relaxed very quickly.

Hugs Hug tightly (hug themselves or be hugged). When they are hugged their body releases hormones that helps them feel more relaxed.

Stress Ball - Squeeze a stress ball/fidget toy/play dough. This can help relieve anxiety and has a calming effect.

5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 Challenge - Name 5 things they can see, 4 things they can hear, 3 things they can touch, 2 things they can smell and 1 thing you can taste. This helps them connect with their senses and can be relaxing.

Exercise Run, jump, dance, or anything that requires movement. Exercise is a good way to relieve stress and anxiety.

Visualisation Visualization is a technique that can help people relieve stress and relax. Visualization involves using mental imagery to achieve a more relaxed state of mind.*click here* to find out more.

Colouring & Reading - Colouring or reading on their stomach is a good way to feel relaxed and mindful. Try looking for adult colouring books in your local book store.

For more activities to help your child manage their worries and anxiety *click here*.
  • Here are some tips for you to try to help you child overcome their difficulties;

    Communication:

    • Try to get them to talk to you about how they feel.
    • Reassure them and let them know things will be ok. Let them know you will work together to find a way forward.
    • Praise them for making the effort to go to school.
    • Be a role model – talk and show them how you cope with difficult feelings.

    Self Esteem:

    • Validate your child. Tell you child it is ok not to feel ok. This shows your child that they are important enough for you to listen to and understand. If your child does not feel heard or understood it can make things worse.
    • Give positive attention. Your child’s feelings of security and safety come from positive interactions with you. If you smile at your child when they look towards you, or reassure your child when they’re frightened or uncertain, your child will feel safe and secure.

    Action:

    • Be persistent and bring your child to school. In time and with the right support it will get easier for them.
    • Try to encourage them to sign up to afterschool activities.
    • Try to keep good routines for bedtime, getting up, breakfast, getting their uniform, school bag and equipment ready.
    • Talk to your child's school and make a plan together.
    • Read books about other children and young people and  get ideas for how they have coped with school anxiety.
    • Give your child space. Sometimes trying to do anything can make them more anxious, they may need space to calm down.

     

  • Counselling

    • If your child is still struggling with school anxiety they may benefit from counselling. If your child is over 11, *click here* to find out more about counselling services in the Norfolk area.

    GP Referral

    • If you are concerned about the mental health of your child you can speak to your GP.
    • You can discuss if your child needs to be referred to a mental health specialist to get further support. 

    Online Course

    Discover how to help your child with anxiety. This free course is for parents and carers of children aged 4-11 years. Click the image below for more information and to book your place.

    Support & Self Help Guide

    The guide below has been created with the support of children, young people and their families and has lots of helpful support links and contact details. Click the image to open the guide.

     

Who Can Help?

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

If you are 11-19 you can text Chathealth on 07480635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.

For 11–25 year olds Kooth is a free, confidential and safe way to receive online counselling, advice and emotional well-being support. 

Childline - Children and young people under 19 can call 0800 1111 for free support.

Young Minds Parents Helpline - Call 0808 802 5544 for free Mon-Fri from 9.30am to 4pm.

To speak to other Norfolk parents and carers, you can join our online community forum below. 

  

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