Elementary-school kids haven't fully learned self-control. They are still honing their social skills. They're learning how to make friends, how to handle aggression, how to control their urges and emotions. If their teachers and parents don't treat these as normal developmental milestones, they can turn into sources of stress.
Signs of elementary-school stress include:
- Fears and nightmares. Stomachaches and headaches. These kinds of complaints show that kids are stressed. Students may want to avoid something, but they are really feeling it. This may be their way of trying to cope with too much stress.
- Negativism and lying. Give them credit for a good idea. That can be very effective. This way, you as the parent do not accept the lie and do not reject the child's feelings. It keeps the parent and child in conversation. "You recognized where the lie came from -- the child really wishes it were true."
- Withdrawal, regressive behavior, or excessive shyness. Know your child's temperament. Not all children mature at the same pace. Some children are slow to accept new things. "If you know your child angers more easily or gets more aggressive or upset than other children, help them find some kind of outlet." If your child needs to move after school, suggest an after-dinner bike ride. If he or she requires something calming, suggest listening to music.
How to help:
1. Acknowledge the problem. Do your best to not simply say: "Don't worry!"
2. Ask, "What three things are you most worried about?"
3. Ask, "What three things are you most excited about?"
4. Do some role-playing. Practice getting ready, saying "good bye", and walking to class.
5. Keep the lines of communication open. Have a set time each day where you talk to your student about school.
6. Understand the value of tears.
7. Resist the urge to fix everything. Never allow your student simply to stay home because this does not help them to cope with anxiety and change.
8. Know when to get help. Contact your school social worker if your student is getting ill from anxiety, having panic attacks, or refusing to come to school.
Below are some link's on anxiety you may find helpful: