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How to make school easier for the unsettled child

Pair anxious children with friendly, helpful classmates who will encourage them to participate

Pair anxious children with friendly, helpful classmates who will encourage them to participate

- Pair anxious children with friendly, helpful classmates who will encourage them to participate.

- Change can frighten anxious children, so ensure consistency wherever possible.

- Make sure that rules and sanctions are consistent across the school. For example, all teachers should give detentions for swearing, rather than one giving detention and another giving extra homework.

- Appreciate that anxiety can impede academic performance, even in bright pupils.

- Praise or reward those pupils who try something outside their comfort zone.

- Never humiliate pupils for making mistakes.

- If children are unable to take part in an activity, offer an alternative. But ensure this alternative is boring rather than pleasurable.

- Have clear policies about bullying.

- Do not ignore children's fears: allow them to talk about them.

- Avoid speaking about your own fears in class as this can add to children's anxiety.

- Speak positively to pupils about new situations and people.

- Because anxious pupils are difficult to identify, it is best to ensure that the overall ethos is designed to minimise anxiety.

Source: Dr Samantha Cartwright-Hatton.

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