How to help a Child with anxiety in the classroom

How to help a Child with anxiety in the classroom

Last updated on January 24th, 2023 at 05:29 pm

Have you ever worried about something so much that it keeps you awake all night? Now, imagine a child feeling the same unease that you felt. Children – as much as grownups – experience anxiety.

In fact, children are much more susceptible to becoming anxious when faced with difficult situations. It takes more effort for children to overcome their anxiety because they usually are not able to open up about it.

Classrooms sometimes aggravate anxiety in children. The classroom’s ambiance becomes very tense when the children are anxious.

As expected, it hampers their productivity and their overall academic performance. Due to that, it is a necessity for every staff personnel in a school environment to be able to identify anxious kids and help them overcome their anxiety.

 Why do children get anxious in the classroom

There are a plethora of reasons for a child to be anxious in the classroom.  Anxiety could be caused by things ranging from normal occurrences like hunger to extreme ones like mental health issues. It is expedient that you (as a teacher, parent, or guardian) can recognize these things if you intend to successfully help manage them;

1.  Children get anxious when they have too much to do

Anxiety is the brain’s way of reacting to stress. The school system – in recent times – has clogged up the timetables of children in order to hasten their development and their understanding of academic complexities. However, when the physical and mental faculties of children become overworked, they begin to get anxious from the stress

2. The fears of not keeping up

Humans are social animals. Each one of us feels the need to measure up to our colleague in one way or the other. Children too often crack under the pressure of trying to live to the standard of their friends and classmates (maybe in sports, academics, and sometimes materially).

3. The fear of Failure

This is another inherent cause of anxiety in humans. However, it may be more pronounced in children due to the tests, exams, and grades. Sometimes, a child may become troubled sick under the fear of failure to the extent of sickness.

4. Teachers

Oh yes! Most times, the teachers could be a huge contributory factor to a child’s classroom anxiety. The children may be afraid of letting a teacher down, or of getting spanked by an angry teacher. This induces (unnecessary) anxiety in the child.

5. Mental health issues

Aside from the above, classroom anxiety may be triggered in children by mental health issues like Obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD), extreme phobias, Attention Deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD). Whichever of the above, it is important that they are not dismissed as childish tantrums.

6. Some other causes of anxiety include bullies,

difficulty in grasping what is being taught in classes, acceptance issues among others.

Signs of Anxiety in a child

Anxiety is not just a mental state; it sometimes alters the physiology of the child in question. In fact, in 90% of the case, it shows in the child’s attitude and general demeanor. Here are some of the signs that are a child is anxious;

  • Anxious children find it very difficult to pay attention, and in most cases, they are restless.
  • They often end up not learning anything after a class
  • Sometimes, anxious children act out in class. They do things that disrupt the flow of communication
  • Anxious children find it very difficult to respond to questions
  • In some cases, anxious children may resort to tears and brooding (this depends on the child’s temperament in most cases)
  • In extreme cases, anxiety may cause a child to be withdrawn and wanting to be alone.

How to help a Child with anxiety in the classroom- Helpful tips to overcome the problem

  1. Take breaks amidst classes – Children are great fans of short breaks. When you notice that the system of teaching places too much burden on the children, you could use your intuition as the teacher and make them take short breaks.
  2. Share stories with the children – Stories have been found to relax both adults and children. When you observe any sign of anxiety in a child. He or she could use a nice story. Preferably, tell the children in question times when you experienced anxiety in the past. This would go a long way in allaying their fears and making them relax.
  3. Using Fidget toys could do the trick – When humans are anxious, fidgeting with certain objects can help them relieve the tension. When you notice a child is under so much pressure – even during breaks – you could get the kid some sort of toy to fidget with.
  4. Sometimes, just listening and talking would help – In many cases, Children need people who can listen to them and tell them everything would be all right. If you notice a particular kind that is often anxious, initiate a conversation with them. Do not try to be the preacher at that instance. Instead, talk about natural things with the kid, and watch him or her get calm
  5. Be observant enough to know a hungry child – In some instances, all the kids ever want is to eat a proper meal. You can do an anxious kid a big favor by getting him or her food, but you have to be certain that hunger is the main reason for his or her anxiety.
  6. Let the children practice deep breaths – There are situations that can get a whole class of children anxious. In those instances, there is usually a miasma of emotions in the classroom. To put these emotions under control, you could make the children practice one or two deep breaths with you. It works magic in both anxious kids and adults.
  7. In extreme cases of OCD or ADHD be sure to call for professional help – In this case, you can only attempt to help the child, the best course of action would be to call the attention of psychologist or a psychiatrist as the case may be.


Finally, it is important for all parent, guardian or teacher to be observant enough to recognize why the children in their care are anxious. After identifying the root cause, they you should not only work to help the child, you should make sure you adjust the circumstances to prevent future re-occurrence.

You can also read up on How to deal with special needs child

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