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Dealing With Anxiety in the Classroom

Anxiety in the classroom

Read our Top Tips for Teachers to Help Students with Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are one of the most common and growing mental health problems amongst children. It is likely that most classes will have at least one child suffering with anxiety. Schools can be an anxiety provoking environment due to overstimulation and pressures around learning and friendships. 

Our therapists have put together their top tips for opening-up conversations about anxiety and supporting children who may be suffering.

How to Help a Student Understand & Manage Anxiety in the Classroom  

Help children to realise that anxiety is normal, and sometimes even helpful as the body’s response to stress. However, it should not be persistent, overwhelming or interfere with everyday life.

1. This short video provides a useful explanation of what anxiety is and its function. Fight Flight Freeze – A Guide to Anxiety for Kids.

2. Create lessons and/or assemblies on the topic of anxiety and get children used to talking about it and sharing. We reccommend utilising resources from Anna Freud. She has many useful videos including the ‘Lets Talk About Axiety Animation and Teacher Toolkit’.

3. Students may feel uncomfortable sharing their experiences in class so it can be helpful to provide opportunities to role play in character or use drawing or painting to express feelings.

4. Create a containing school environment: this might look like having consistent routines and expectations and preparing students for changes, providing calm spaces, buddy systems and access to nature.

5. Make students aware of the support provided and ensure teachers are available to talk as a first point of help.

6. Active listening and empathy: if a student does open-up about their anxiety the best response is to listen attentively with your whole body (giving eye contact, nodding, body still), reassure them that speaking about it with you was the right thing to do, and avoid trying to fix or minimise what they are experiencing. If you feel comfortable doing so, it can be helpful to share that we all feel anxious and give examples from your own life.

7. Getting children used to breathing techniques and mindfulness is a good way of keeping the nervous system regulated and practicing tools that can be used when in an anxious state.

Child in Time is able to provide workshops facilitated by one of our team of child counsellors and therapists. Get in touch to find out more.

Additional Resources
Cosmic Kids is a good resource for Primary schools.
Take a look at Headspace for both Primary and Secondary schools.
Or Calm with Dr Julie Smith for Secondary schools. 


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Head-teacher of Woolmore School, Tower Hamlets

Parent Consultation: They have become much better at expressing their feelings and opening up to me and their siblings.

Parent, 2023

School Counselling: My son has completely turned around and is simply wonderful at the moment. He is back to his normal self at home, being very happy, caring and kind. He is especial kind and caring with his sister and just the best brother ever now. As a family, we are happy and content.

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Head-teacher of St Saviour’s School, Tower Hamlets

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Student, aged 15

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Tereza Nogueira, Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist and Senior supervisor UKCP

This intervention has had an enormous, positive impact for us all and we sincerely hope that other families benefit from the same programme…his positive behaviour is having a really good impact on all elements of his school life.

Parent of child, age 8

I am glad I am coming to see you every Thursday because I used to hold all these things in my head and that was hard.

Girl, age 10

We are very happy with the counselling service we are receiving and in particular ‘our therapist’s’ flexible and accommodating nature. Parents are very pleased, both the target children’s parents and the consultation one’s too.

SENCO, Rhodes Avenue School, Haringey

She is an outstanding therapist who has made a real difference to the lives of pupils in our school. ‘Our therapist’ possesses excellent skills in connecting with others, creating a safe space for staff, parents and pupils to discuss a range of issues. Her expertise, compassion, and dedication are truly commendable and we have really benefited from her thorough understanding of child development and psychology.

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I want to say thank you. I found these sessions very very helpful. I could talk about anything with you. I remember our first one, when I was so worried that everything was my fault. I can now see things more clearly.

student, age 11