When Anxiety Gets In the Way Of your Kid's Learning: 17 Classroom & Home Tips for your Anxious Child
Check out this great blog prepared by Stacy Fiorile for you, our readers of Psychological & Educational Consulting!
Your child may struggle with anxiety and that’s enough to have to deal with. For them and you.
As if it’s not enough that you have to convince your little one that he or she is OK and SAFE to sleep in their bed at night. That the monsters are NOT going to get them. Or that you WILL be there to pick them up after school. And—that it’s OK to be nervous when raising your hand in class (but try anyway). You tell them that it’s OK to feel nervous. Everyone gets scared sometimes.
And now just when you thought you had this. You’ve imparted this information skillfully and carefully so that they feel more comfortable going to school and finally, FINALLY you’re getting the high five from the school nurse that your kid has been removed from the frequent visitor list. YAY—you got through it!
But then…the anxiety begins creeping up…. again….Tears and confusion all over again. Where did you go wrong? You wonder if you just stink as a parent.
Your child comes home with slipping grades because they start to freeze at tests, are afraid of the more strict teachers, and holy dear lord…they have to do a PRESENTATION! The WORLD stops. You go back to your old bag of tricks ensuring them that its really fine that everyone gets scared…it’s OK to feel scared..yada yada. But this—time nothing seems to work. They are like a deer in headlights and IT IS JUST— NOT happening. They have to do it or they take the F. And that’s that. These days more and more student’s grades are weighted more heavily on things like participation, group projects and presentations. This is a problem for our anxious kiddos.
But you already know that. So what do you do? You don’t really want to make a big deal of it since they were doing so well for so long. And even if you wanted to get them help where would you go or say or do? I mean everyone gets nervous sometimes, right?
Here’s the thing.
When the anxiety begins interfering with school academics and you feel that due to the anxiety your child may not be performing up to their potential that’s when it’s time to take steps on your child’s behalf.
For example, if they don’t want to go to school anymore, can’t stay in class for long without needing to visit the nurse or office or if their grades are being affected by the anxiety, seek help.
If you feel you child needs to be referred for an evaluation check with your Special Services Department within your school district and ask how to submit a request for an evaluation. Most schools need the request in writing. If you submit a request don’t forget to sign, date and keep a copy for your records. At the same time you should make an appointment for your child to be seen by his or her pediatrician.
In the meantime here are some handy dandy pointers that will help your anxious child to better handle their school day:
While accommodations are a great way to help anxious children to perform better in school— it is important to get counseling and work with a behaviorist who specializes in treating children with anxiety—so that they may learn little by little how to reduce their need for accommodations.
Furthermore, and this is the huge take away—we now have tools for children to not only cope with and manage anxiety but to teach kids how to eliminate debilitating anxiety all together. One of these techniques is called the Magic Finger Countdown found in Scaredies Away, written by myself and Barry McDonagh, author of Dare and Panic Away. Be sure you are working with a practitioner that is working towards elimination of debilitating anxiety and not just managing anxiety.
For now, I hope this helps you to find comfort in knowing that there is help out there for you and your anxious child. It takes a very special person to parent (and parent well) an anxious child. It can be tough. I know there is so much uncertainty and unease about anxiety. But boy oh boy— when you see them overcome a fear—there is nothing better! That, I can tell you.
Stacy Fiorile, MA, CAGS, NJCSP, NCSP
School Psychologist & Best Selling Author of Scaredies Away! A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Worry & Anxiety (made simple)
PS. - Here are some links for more free information, blogs and resources:
Barry McDonagh's Dare Book
Barry's Dare Book Website
Happy Wednesday! Today's blog is from Nestmaven.com which is a website that focuses on Sleep and ADHD.
Do you or your child have ADHD and are having difficulty getting enough sleep?
Sleep problems and ADHD go hand-in-hand for many people. Whether it’s difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or getting up in the morning, these issues can significantly impact your daily life.
What’s more, your lack of sleep might in turn be exacerbating your ADHD symptoms!
We’ve put together this in-depth guide to explain why these issues happen and -- more importantly -- what you can do to help yourself get some much needed rest.
Click here to read this article
Today's blog is from our newest Team Member, Chrissy Sunberg! Chrissy is a Certified ADHD Coach and Special Education Teacher. She will be bring the additional service of In Home ADHD Coaching for students and their parents. Chrissy also has a specialty in Mindfulness and Yoga.
Read Chrissy's blog about how to incorporate mindfulness into your home each day:
Incorporating Mindfulness Into Your Home
The Mindful Movement - I know that you have heard about it via social media, popular magazines, and even public sports figures are using it to improve their athletic performance. Moreover, mindfulness is empirically validated by science as serving to improve our children’s executive function skills.
Being Mindful is simply being present in the moment. When thoughts come into your mind, the goal isn’t to judge them, but rather to acknowledge them and let them go. Mindfulness is being aware of yourself and your surroundings. Sounds easy, right? For some children it can be effortless, for children with impulse control, attentional struggles and self-regulation challenges, it can be a daunting experience.
The children that benefit the most from a mindful practice are children that are diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety. Practicing mindfulness can be fun, short and creative with lasting benefits. To help incorporate a mindful practice in your home, try out these simple and fun exercises.
4 Square Breathing:
The beauty of breathing is that it can happen anywhere and anytime. In fact, you’re doing it right now! It’s always there for you, before a big exam or a big game. Try this to help improve focus, mood, and regulation:
Mindful moments don’t just happen when you sit in a lotus position; they can happen when you are in any joyful flow activity That’s right – turn it up and start moving your body! Get a five minute dance party going on while preparing dinner or before homework. You can get everyone in your house to get down and boogy, regardless of your age. Take turns choosing the song, focus on the present and dance like nobody is watching!
Is a mind-body intervention by which a parent or counselor encourages a child or adolescent to find their ‘happy place’ and then engage with it using each of the 5 senses (e.g, What do you see? What do you smell? What do you feel? What do you taste? What do you hear?). This experience helps to relax the body and focus on helping your child’s body to create positive neurochemicals (e.g., endorphins) that improve mood as well. For example, you can bring your children on a magic carpet ride over the ocean or to a forest incorporating all 5 senses. For some guided imagery, check out the link below. http://www.shambhala.com/sittingstilllikeafrog/
Next time when you feel like your family needs some grounding, take 5, have fun and stay in the moment. If you want more information on adding a mindful practice to your home, you can contact me at CSunberg@psychedconsult.com or by phone at 973-400-8371.
Click here to read this blog
As an anxious child, adolescent, young adult, and adult/parent, I know what it means to be consumed with ever spinning thoughts, my fears, my worries. I know what it feels like to not be able to catch my breath because I am so scared. I'm scared that I can't, that I won't be able to, that I'll fall, or I'll stumble, or I'll make a fool of myself. I personalize... a lot. I believe that the reason people might be upset is because of something I've done or said. I worry that I may have hurt someone's feelings, or even worse, that I've done something to jeopardize our friendship.
I know I'm not alone, and after reading this blog by Holly Riordan, I know there are more people in my anxious clan. But we wouldn't know it because we are embarrassed by our anxiety. We are ashamed of our spiraling thoughts. So, we get up, get out and do.
Please know that if you are anxious, it's okay. There's nothing wrong with you. You came into the world wired with an extra sensitivity gene. You have a high level of awareness of your feelings and the feelings of those around you. This may feel like a curse, but it can be a blessing. You may be one of the few people who look at another and understand that she is scared too. You can be a source of support and comfort to another.
And here it is... read and know you are AWESOME, my fellow anxious friend.
The Strongest People are People with Anxiety by Holly Riordan
They are strong because they're in a constant battle with their anxiety. It's telling them that they can't. Tat they should speak up. That they shouldn't get out of bed.
Some days, they listen to everything that voice tells them. But other days, they find the power to ignore. They find the strength to leave their room. To socialize. To smile.
They are strong because they show up even when they are shaking. They speak even when it's with a quiet voice. They keep breathing, even when those breaths are shaky.
It would be easy for them to cancel plans with their friends, turn down dates, skip class, call in sic - and sometimes, they do. Sometimes, the idea of being around people is too much for them to handle.
But most of the time, they do what they have to do. They switch off their alarm. They shower. They get dressed. and then they get stuff done.
Of course, they are distracted throughout the day. The tiniest thing can send their mind spinning. A text from someone they didn't expect to hear from. An email they aren't quite sure how to answer. A strange look from one of their coworkers or crushes.
They suffer from constant self consciousness, but they push past it. They ignore the way they think everyone is looking at them, judging them, and they force themselves to be productive. They force themselves to focus on what's important.
They refuse to let anxiety control their life. They won't let the dark thoughts eclipse the positive ones. They're motivated to be the best person they can be.
At times, the anxiety makes them feel weak Lesser. Like they don't deserve to be in the same room as people that can talk to strangers as if they've known each other for years.
But even though they feel inferior, that's far from the truth. They are warriors. Why can't they see that?
They try so hard. They put in so much effort. And they have gotten so far.
Some people rarely venture outside of their comfort zone - but they are outside of their comfort zone every day. They're either worried about what to say or what to wear or where to park They are never relaxed. They are always on edge.
That's why they're always learning. Always growing. Every second of every day.
Sure, there are times when they suffer from setbacks. When they stay in their pajamas and put off showering.
But there are other times when they find the courage to speak their mind. When they surprise themselves with how brave they can be.
They probably don't realize it yet, but people with anxiety are the strongest people in the world, because they never have a minute of peace. Because they're always struggling - and they're always winning.
Today I am sharing a blog from Lianne Mandelbaum who is the founder of the No Nut Traveller and is an avid advocate for nut free airplanes.
Lianne is a fellow mom with a son with an anaphylactic nut allergy who is fighting for planes to be nut free so that all children can board
airplanes with little fear about their safety and
well being, because sometimes,
'Flying is not a Luxury."
Click here to read Lianne's blog
This blog is prepared for you by our very own,
Michelle Molle-Krowiak, Ed.S., LCSW
"Be the reason someone believes in the goodness of people."
This is on my family chalkboard to remind me and center me on the important aspects of life that seem to get lost in this busy world. Teaching our children to show kindness will make a difference. Setting the example is the first step. Children thrive in a kind and nurturing world. I share this as reminder for myself and others the impact a small action has on someone.
Click here to watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxyxywShewI
Michelle's Play Therapy Tip:
In play therapy, special attention is paid to a child's actions. For parents, "The Rubber Band Method" of discipline helps focus on positive behavior. Each day start with three rubber bands on your right wrist. Catch your child doing a positive behavior and give effective "you" praise (I.e., "you listened really well and came to me on the first call!"). Then, move a rubber band to the left wrist. By the end of the day, the rubber bands should be on your left wrist and more importantly, you contributed to building your child's self-esteem, compassion and resiliency.
"Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.” ~ Buddha
If you're anything like me, I've got the back to school blues... I want summer to last forever... the long nights, the sunshine, the lazy nights where we don't have to rush to one activity after the next, and somehow fit in homework and dinner.
Read my blog with Different Dreams where I offer 3 ways that you can keep the summer vibe going into the fall! Click here to read the full blog
Dr. Liz Matheis
Dr Liz Matheis and her team specialize in assisting children and their families with Anxiety, Autism, AD/HD, Learning Disabilities and Behavioral Struggles