How Online School Can Help Anxious Students Open Up

5 min to read
A mother holds her daughter giving her a reassuring look and smile while she is sitting on a desk

Anxiety is surprisingly common in school-aged children. According to the CDC, 9.4%  of children aged 3-17 years were diagnosed with anxiety between 2016 to 2019. Separation from parents, stressful and traumatic events, bullying, peer pressure, and other distressing and worrisome situations can lead to anxiety in children. 

If you have an anxious child, you may be looking for ways to help them get past their anxiety and open up. For many children, online school can be the best school environment for anxiety. Here’s what you need to know. 

Academics and Anxiety

Academics are a source of anxiety for many children. A study conducted by the Pew Research Center shows that “61% of teens say they feel a lot of pressure to get good grades.”

Different children manifest anxiety about school in different ways. And understanding the telling signs is crucial to helping them before anxiety takes a toll on their mental health.

There are several warning signs to look out for. They include:

  • Fear of leaving the house

  • Throwing temper tantrums

  • Crying excessively

  • Feeling demotivated 

  • Irregular sleep patterns

  • Nightmares

  • Headaches and stomachaches coinciding with school timings

  • Persistent worry 

  • Avoiding peers

The Effects of School-Related Anxiety

Anxiety can seriously affect a child’s performance at school and can be a barrier to their overall well-being. It can impact cognitive abilities like concentration as well as the ability to retain information in their long-term memory and apply past learnings. And it can lead children to avoid social interactions, cling to their parents, and experience school phobia or school refusal.

Because their inner critic chases perfection, anxious children often procrastinate, and that can lead to delayed project submissions and lower grades. This, in turn, can lead to more anxiety and push them into a cycle of worry, which can lead to excessive anxiety, OCD, and depression in the long run.

Why is it Vital to Help Children Overcome Anxiety?

What tends to go unnoticed is that anxiety often occurs along with other conditions; it can coexist with other behavioral disorders like depression, ADHD, and learning disabilities. Together, these can have a detrimental impact on a child’s psyche. That’s why it’s critical to identify the issue and find a solution.

Childhood and even adolescence should be about enjoying life, learning through play, forming friendships, and being open to new experiences without the looming shadow of worry and fear. If anxiety is left unaddressed, it can make it more difficult to embrace opportunities and enjoy life to the fullest. That’s why, as a parent, you should explore ways to help your child reduce anxiety and open up more to peers and all of life’s opportunities. 

A Learning Coach helping his online student with school-related anxiety. 

How Online School Can Help with School-Related Anxiety

Is online school better for anxiety? At a high-quality online school like Connections Academy, where many anxious children perform better in school and thrive more in life thanks to an accessible and flexible learning environment, it absolutely can be. Learning Coaches and counselors work together with students to provide a holistic learning experience that fits each child’s learning preference and addresses their specific needs. 

Benefits include:

1. Less-stressful learning environment

Online school can help your child open up because they will learn in the place where they feel the safest: home. With you or another trusted adult by their side as their Learning Coach, they can feel more accepted and motivated while being away from pressurizing situations and people. In a nurturing learning environment, they are less likely to feel threatened or worried and are more likely to be expressive about their emotions. 

2. Flexible learning

Many types of students can benefit from online school because it offers them a flexible learning schedule. The curriculum focuses on individualized learning and empowers students to schedule classes and coursework at the times of day and week that work best for them. When children are given more control of their schedule, courses, and methods of learning, they can reduce negative external factors and distractions to their academic development. This can lower their overall anxiety and help them thrive.

3. Closer connection with parents

As a parent, you are the first role model your child has. And, as they grow, they continue to be inspired by the decisions you make and how you navigate situations. Online school can help you stay closer to your child while guiding and motivating them. Plus, you can work with your child, their teachers, and counselors to identify their goals and strengths, build a schedule that works for them, and monitor their progress. This helps you create a stronger bond with your child, which can make them more comfortable and willing to open up.

For example, Learning Coach Heather F.’s choice of online schooling with Connections Academy has done wonders for her son. She says:

“Having a son who has PTSD/trauma, anxiety, and other social issues, is hard. When we chose Connections Academy three years ago, it was a group decision—parents, our son, and his therapist. It would be a good fit for him because he is a certified genius and he could work at his pace. He is not surrounded by others and has his comfort zone and therapy cat. We were right! The fit was, and still is, perfect for him. He has finished therapy and has come leaps and bounds over these past three years. He talks to his teacher for monthly check-ins, which is a huge step. I am thankful for Connections Academy because they gave us our son back.” 

Take a look at more parents and students at Connections Academy who are grateful for online schooling.

4. Socialization

While growing up, the friendships children develop with their peers play a crucial role in the development of social skills and their overall personality. But some relationships can be quite stressful and even include bullying.

Online school offers students a unique way to keep the beneficial parts of socializing with peers while avoiding many of the negatives. And this socialization doesn’t rely on a physical classroom. At an online school like Connections Academy, your child can schedule virtual meetups with other online school students and join online clubs that fit their interests. Plus, you can connect with other parents to organize learning pods and even plan visits to museums or national parks. 

5. Time to de-stress

Learning at home gives you and your child more control of your schedules. In addition to blocking time for study, projects, and social activities, you can also dedicate some time for stress relief. Allotting daily time to de-stress can help your child manage stress and anxiety, become more mindful, and find a creative outlet to express themselves.

Simple tasks to help your child feel more peaceful include:

  • Journaling

  • Gardening

  • Listening to calm music

  • Meditating 

  • Constructing Lego models  

Additionally, you can create a school stress management kit for your child and help them explore self-care at an early age.


After School-Related Anxiety Comes Back-to-School Anxiety

Knowing how to help a child with anxiety about school also includes considering back-to-school anxiety. Take a look at how virtual school parents prepare for that yearly ritual by reading our article on the ultimate back-to-school guide for virtual school parents. 

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