There are many different types of anxiety, which is one of the reasons it can be hard to detect in the classroom. What they all have in common, says neurologist and former teacher Ken Schuster, PsyD, is that anxiety “tends to lock up the brain,” making school hard for anxious kids.
Children can struggle with:
- Separation anxiety: When children are worried about being separated from caregivers. These kids can have a hard time at school drop-offs and throughout the day.
- Social anxiety: When children are excessively self-conscious, making it difficult for them to participate in class and socialize with peers.
- Selective mutism: When children have a hard time speaking in some settings, like at school around the teacher.
- Generalized anxiety: When children worry about a wide variety of everyday things. Kids with generalized anxiety often worry particularly about school performance and can struggle with perfectionism.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder: When children’s minds are filled with unwanted and stressful thoughts. Kids with OCD try to alleviate their anxiety by performing compulsive rituals like counting or washing their hands.
- Specific phobias: When children have an excessive and irrational fear of particular things, like being afraid of animals or storms.