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Supporting your child if they are struggling with school

Based on the answers you’ve given, it sounds like your main concern is that your child might be anxious or worried about school at the moment. If this is the case, we are here for you with advice and resources to help you support your child.

With all the changes caused by the pandemic, it’s completely normal for your child’s feelings about school to have changed too. Some children may have struggled in school before the pandemic and enjoy being at home and attending school “virtually”, which has made it an even more difficult task to get back into school. After so long off school, the idea of returning may feel overwhelming and they may be finding it difficult to cope with all the changes in their school. Being restricted in how they interact with their friends and peers may be making school a less enjoyable experience for them as well. Your child may even be refusing to go to school altogether.

This can be really hard to know how to deal with, but there are things you can do. The important thing is to recognise that there’s a problem to be solved, and to work with your child and the school to find the right support as soon as you can. Below are some tips to help you support your child through this.

Tips if your child is struggling with school

  • Tips on dealing with school anxiety and refusal

    It’s entirely normal for children to find school worrying from time to time, especially with all the changes brought about by the pandemic. The important thing is to create time to speak openly with them about how they’re feeling and what’s worrying them. This can be a tricky conversation to have, but we have lots of tips and advice that may help.

    > Read our guide to school anxiety and refusal

  • Tips if your child is studying from home

    If your child is isolating or doing school from home, it can be hard to know how best to support them. If you are working as well or have other responsibilities, it can be difficult to juggle these things. Just remember that this is all new and won’t be forever – it’s OK to feel overwhelmed.

    One parent shares her experience of home-schooling her two children.

    > Read her tips for managing

  • For a younger child: make a 'worry box'

    If you have a younger child, you may find it helpful to make a ‘worry box’ together. This is a box or container into which children can post their anxious thoughts. It can give them a physical way of getting rid of their worries, and can help them create a routine and way of sorting out their worries and sharing them with you.

    > Read our guide

  • For an older child: make a 'self-soothe box'

    For an older child, they might find it helpful to make their own ‘self-soothe box’ - a box of items that help them feel calm and relaxed. Many young people find sensory items, which have something to smell, touch, see, taste and hear, can help them feel grounded when they are anxious.

    > Read our guide

  • Try an activity to start a conversation

    Talking to your child about how they’re feeling can be hard, but by doing an activity you both enjoy, you can create a relaxed space to start that conversation. We have lots of activities and conversation starters to make talking easier.

    > Read more

  • Remember to look after yourself

    This is a time to be kind to yourself and to be looking after your own mental health too. Remember, you can’t support your loved ones if you’re running on empty – you’re only human, and we all find things tough from time to time.

    We have a blog full of tips and advice for looking after yourself at this time.

    > Read the blog

Tips for managing school refusal

Our Parents Helpline team share their tips for supporting a child with school anxiety and managing school refusal.

Ask them what it is about school that makes them not want to go, and validate their experience of finding these things difficult. Stay as calm as you can, taking your child’s worries seriously and listening to how they’re feeling.
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