Tips to reduce School Anxiety in Special Needs Kids
Going to school may cause anxiety to certain kids. Children with special needs in particular may have problems understanding what is expected of them. As a parent, you find yourself wondering about the best ways to reassure your kids. Often, a listening ear, a sympathetic word or a hug can be extremely helpful.
Here are some tips:
- Acknowledge the Problem: When your child is experiencing school anxiety, the first thing that you can do is acknowledge their fear. It may not seem like a big deal to you but the fear is real to them. Just letting them know that it is ok to feel this way can help them comfortable about talking to you.
- Ask them what are they worried about: When you’re specific about your questions, your child can try to comprehend their fears and feelings. If your child is unable to name the things that he is most worried about, have him tell you any three things or most recent things.
- Ask what they are most excited about: Talk about being positive. Most kids can think about something good, even if it is going home at the end of the day. Ask your child about things they really enjoy at school and they can focus on the positives rather than the scary stuff.
- Indulge in role-playing: Once you know about what causes anxiety, help your child figure out an alternate way to deal with it. Indulge in role-plays and discuss possible scenarios to deal with it. You could play your child and let him play the role of a teacher or a classmate. You can show appropriate and realistic coping techniques for your child.
- Tell them It’s Okay to cry: Crying can act as a great stress reliever. It flushes out bad feelings and eases tension. It’s hard to see your child crying, and your first instinct may be to help him stop as soon as possible. But after the tears have all come out, your child may be in a better position to talk and share. Let the crying run its course and then provide a soothing ear to help him out.
- Know when to get help: Most children get school anxiety to some extent – some feel it more deeply and disruptively. Look for signs such as major changes in friendships, style of clothing, music preferences, sleeping and eating habits, attitude and behavior. If you notice anything amiss in these, you may be better off seeking professional help.
Children with special needs seek your love and support to feel better about their anxieties. These tips can help you connect with them so that they open up to you more freely about their fears and worries.