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Here's How your Child's School Environment can Increase their Experience of Anxiety.

School is not just a place of learning; it's a hub of social interaction, self-discovery, and personal growth for children. However, amidst the textbooks and friendships, there's a silent but significant factor that often goes unnoticed: anxiety. Childhood anxiety is more prevalent than we might think, with various factors contributing to its development. Read along to learn how important it is to be aware of your child's school environment and how it promotes calm, confidence and growth (or not!)


  1. Academic pressure

From a (much too) young age, children are introduced to academic expectations that can sometimes feel overwhelming. The pressure to perform well in tests or exams, meet deadlines, and excel in various subjects can significantly contribute to anxiety levels. Moreover, competitive environments can exacerbate these feelings, leading to fear of failure or not being "good enough." It's essential for educators to foster a supportive learning environment that emphasizes growth over perfection and encourages children to embrace mistakes as part of the learning process.


2. Social dynamics

School is a microcosm of society, where children learn to navigate complex social interactions and develop relationships. While these interactions can be enriching, they can also be sources of anxiety for many children. Peer pressure and feelings of social exclusion are common challenges that can contribute to anxiety levels. Educators play a crucial role in promoting empathy, kindness, and inclusivity among students, creating a safe space where every child feels valued and accepted.



3. Educator's mindset

This is probably one of the most important factors to carefully consider when you notice your child experiencing anxiety at school: How does their educator talk to, talk about and think of them? Do they always report to you that your child 'can't do this', is 'never able to do that', 'is behind their peers' or any other comments that make it clear to you that they only focus on your child's shortcomings? It is important for educators to be honest with parents about their child's progress, but if this educator chooses to interact with a child in such a manner in which it is clear that the educator does not believe in the child's abilities, the child will most likely internalise this, and it will have a direct impact on their self-confidence. Then they might feel anxious when attempting challenging tasks, because one of the most important people in their lives - their educator - does not believe they can.


Children easily spend 35-40 hours a week at school. We need to ensure that the hours spent there are hours during which their confidence is built, their ability to reach their potential is fostered and they are surrounded by educators who lift them up and instill a belief in them that they CAN. If you notice some of the above factors being present at your child's school, make an appointment with the educator and discuss how this can be addressed. Your child's wellbeing is too important to not pay attention to these kinds of red flags!


Best regards,

Megan

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