Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Helping Students with Anxiety

I was recently asked this question:

“I am am currently in a second grade classroom with a student who has anxiety. When anything changes in her normal everyday schedule she is off and extremely worked up. It's to the point that she cannot focus during the day. With COVID, our schedule constantly is changing so this anxiety is there very often. Even when things are different at home,the anxiety carries over into school. She also has expressed that she has had several nightmares and this will carry with her throughout the entire day. She randomly gets anxious over things like change in weather (rain, thunderstorms) , change in schedule, if the school is safe, etc…how can I support this student during the day when she gets anxious over things like this?”

Here is my answer to her question:

I have had many students that dislike changes in their schedules. As I get older, I find myself feeling the same way.

If you know in advance that things will change, you can give her a schedule so she knows what to expect. You can get her to help you plan the schedule for the next day while you are making it. This may give her some control and ease her anxiety.

During transitions, let her know when things are going to change so it doesn't surprise her. You can give a 5-minute and then a 1-minute warning so she can mentally prepare to make the change.

If there are things you cannot control, you might try to distract her from them. What things ease her anxiety? What activity might distract her from feeling anxious? If she likes to draw or read, doing this may help her. If movement helps her, maybe you can do walking or exercise activity.

What advice would you give this teacher? Please share.

Photo by Kat J on Unsplash

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