Best Practice

Simple phrases for calming anxious students

The calm of adults is contagious and can quickly help an anxious or stressed student to calm themselves. Dr Pooky Knightsmith offers some practical pointers

When a child is feeling worried or anxious, the most helpful thing they can be exposed to is often a calm adult. An adult who is clearly in control and whose words and tone are reassuring will quickly calm a child; our calm is contagious.

This can be challenging for us, as the adult, because sometimes a child’s situation or behaviour can trigger difficult thoughts and feelings in ourselves.

These are the moments when we need to “be the swan” – to appear to be gracefully gliding along the surface of the water and hiding the fact that we might be frantically paddling beneath.

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