Managing you and your children’s anxiety

Amanda Kirby

Professor Amanda Kirby has been delivering services for more than 25 years to families who have children with Dyslexia, Dyspraxia (DCD), ADHD, speech and language challenges and Autism. She has neurodiverse children and grandchildren. 

She is the CEO of Do-IT Solutions. Do-IT Solutions have developed neurodiversity apps, e-learning training resources and software to provide practical support for children and adults.


Follow @profamandakirby

Website: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This is an extraordinary time for everyone. For parents with children of all ages, it also means balancing children’s needs and their wellbeing alongside your own.

Juggling home working and trying to support children’s learning means there is a fine line between coping and feeling overwhelmed. Anxiety can come along in waves when you are least expecting it.

Every child, depending on their age, will also be trying to cope with their new reality with no timelines or certainty on the horizon. Some will be able to verbalise this, while others may become angry, irritable or withdrawn. They will certainly pick up on your concerns and behaviours. 

Why do we feel anxious? 

This may be due to:

  • Changes in your routines
  • Lack of control over choices
  • Fear about the wellbeing of others
  • Uncertainty about the future (and the present!)

At the moment we have all of these things going on. 


One way of thinking about this is seeing ourselves as a ‘bucket’ with a finite capacity for coping. Varying elements in our lives fill up the bucket, and it can fill at different rates.

If our bucket becomes too full and overflows, we then feel overwhelmed. 

In normal circumstances we would find ways of coping by reducing the level in the bucket which could be achieved, for example, by taking exercise, meeting friends, or talking to others. At the moment there is a lot flowing in but less choice of how we empty the bucket! By understanding your own anxieties, you can help your children as well as yourself.

What helps if you feel anxious?

  • F = Focus on what’s in your control 

                  You can’t control everything, but you can control what is going on in your home and with your children.

  • A = Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings

                  Allow yourself to recognise when you feel anxious.

  • C = Come back into your body

                  Stand up or press feet to the floor; or place your hands on a chair.

                  Take some slow and deep breaths.

  • E = Engage in what you’re doing

                  Be present. Look at what is in front of you such as your hands?

By being more relaxed with your children, and your children sensing this, they will also be less anxious too.

Tops tips:

  • Be kind to yourself - For most of us we are learning a new ‘normal’. We are trying to work and be at home all at the same time in really strange circumstances.
  • Start by mapping out the day - Be realistic in what you can achieve and start by being kind to yourself.  You may need to plan your work and your children’s time. Unless you are a teacher – you are not a teacher! 
  • Try not to over-organise your day but have some structure - If you don’t achieve everything you will just feel you have failed. Let your children put the plan together. 
  • Take the opportunities for informal learning with your children while watching a film, making a meal, gardening, doing chores.
  • Build in achievable rewards - These can be a mix of small ones (more easily achievable) and bigger ones that can be gained.Let your children help with chores every day (this also provides structure) and provide them with a menu of activities, so they can decide how many rewards they get when they engage in this.
  • Avoid talking about Covid19, watching the news and checking on your phone in front of your children all the time. Don’t start catastrophising as this can easily spiral your feelings out of control. Focus on what you can control.
  • Connect with family and friends - Can you arrange a virtual play date?
  • Try to reduce arguments by holding regular family meetings especially if you have teens in the house. Create times and ways to discuss worries with your children. Sometimes it can be easier talking about worries when you are not directly doing so.
  • Set time each day to do fun stuff together. 
  • Create regular times for exercise - It will help with sleep and mood too.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support us.
When you register, you'll join a grassroots community where you can:
• Enjoy unlimited access to articles
• Get recommendations tailored to your interests
• Attend virtual events with our leading contributors
Register Now

Latest stories

  • How to handle stress while teaching in a foreign country
    How to handle stress while teaching in a foreign country

    Teaching English in a foreign country is likely to be one of the most demanding experiences you'll ever have. It entails relocating to a new country, relocating to a new home, and beginning a new career, all of which are stressful in and of themselves, but now you're doing it all at once. And you'll have to converse in a strange language you may not understand.

  • Is Learning Fun for You, Teacher?
    Is Learning Fun for You, Teacher?

    Over the weekend, my family of five went to an Orlando theme park, and I decided we should really enjoy ourselves by purchasing an Unlimited Quick Queue pass. It was so worth the money! We rode every ride in the park at least twice, but one ride required us to ride down a rapidly flowing river, which quenched us with water. It was incredible that my two-year-old was laughing as well. We rode the Infinity Falls ride four times in one day—BEST DAY EVER for FAMILY FUN in the Sun! The entire experience was epic, full of energizing emotions and, most importantly, lots of smiles. What made this ride so cool was that the whole family could experience it together, the motions were on point, and the water was the icing on the cake. It had been a while since I had that type of fun, and I will never forget it.

  • Free recycling-themed resources for KS1 and KS2
    Free recycling-themed resources for KS1 and KS2

    The Action Pack is back for the start of the brand new school year, just in time for Recycle Week 2021 on 20 - 26 September, to empower pupils to make the world a better and more sustainable place. The free recycling-themed resources are designed for KS1 and KS2 and cover the topics of Art, English, PSHE, Science and Maths and have been created to easily fit into day-to-day lesson planning.

  • Inspire your pupils with Emma Raducanu
    Inspire your pupils with Emma Raducanu

    Following the exceptional performance from British breakthrough star Emma Raducanu, who captured her first Grand Slam at the US Open recently, Emmamania is already inspiring pupils aged 4 - 11 to get more involved in tennis - and LTA Youth, the flagship
    programme from The LTA, the governing body of tennis in Britain, has teachers across the country covered.

  • 5 ways to boost your school's eSafety
    5 ways to boost your school's eSafety

    eSafety is a term that constantly comes up in school communities, and with good reason. Students across the world are engaging with technology in ways that have never been seen before. This article addresses 5 beginning tips to help you boost your school’s eSafety. 

  • Tackling inequality in EdTech
    Tackling inequality in EdTech

    We have all been devastated by this pandemic that has swept the world in a matter of weeks. Schools have rapidly had to change the way they operate and be available for key workers' children. The inequalities that have long existed in communities and schools are now being amplified by the virus.

  • EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab
    EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab

    The world is catching up with a truth that we’ve championed at Learning Ladders for the last 5 years - that children’s learning outcomes are greatly improved by teachers, parents and learners working in partnership. 

  • Reducing primary to secondary transition stress
    Reducing primary to secondary transition stress

    As school leaders grapple with the near impossible mission to start bringing more students into schools from 1st June, there are hundreds of thousands of Year 6 pupils thinking anxiously about their move to secondary school.

  • Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?
    Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?

    The K-12 online tutoring market is booming around the world, with recent research estimating it to grow by 12% per year over the next five years, a USD $60bn increase. By breaking down geographic barriers and moving beyond the limits of local teaching expertise, online tutoring platforms are an especially valuable tool for those looking to supplement their studies in the developing world, and students globally are increasingly signing up to online tuition early on in their secondary education schooling. 

  • Employable young people or human robots?
    Employable young people or human robots?

    STEM skills have been a major focus in education for over a decade and more young people are taking science, technology, engineering, and maths subjects at university than ever before, according to statistics published by UCAS. The downside of this is that the UK is now facing a soft skills crisis and the modern world will also require children to develop strong social skills as the workplaces are transformed by technology. 

In order to make our website better for you, we use cookies!

Some firefox users may experience missing content, to fix this, click the shield in the top left and "disable tracking protection"