According to the Mental Health Foundation, approximately 1 in 8 children aged 5-19 years suffer from at least one mental health disorder such as anxiety, depression or ADHD.
The trigger for their anxiety may include:
- Worrying about a specific incident or situation – For example, a visit to the dentist, changes at home, moving home, doing exams at school, stories in the news, and so on.
- Experiencing trauma – Examples include, experiencing trauma such as the death of a family member, bullying at school, family breakdowns, physical abuse, emotional abuse or even hurtful comments.
- A stressful environment – “studies show that visual clutter negatively impacts mood in a variety of ways, including increased stress, anxiety, and depression. Maintaining a clutter-free space is, therefore, crucial to creating a positive and tranquil atmosphere”.
- Their overall health and well-being – factors such as lack of sleep, a poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle, lack of fresh air and sunlight and a lack of emotional support can affect their mood, attitude, and happiness.
2020 is a year of change and uncertainty – the focus of the impacts of this change is on how businesses and adult individuals have coped. However, an increasing number of children have experienced heightened anxiety levels during this time.
Their routine went into turmoil just like the rest of us:
- They were not able to see their friends.
- Many students transitioned to online study.
- Many of their extra-curricular activities were closed down.
At first, many found this change more enjoyable there was more family time, more free time, more time for sleep and more time to get outside and play. As time drew on and the world remains uncertain – the uncertainty is taking its toll on children, especially as they return to the classroom for the first time in months.
There are many solutions teachers can implement in the classroom to try and create a calm and safe place for students such as mindfulness, positivity, communication etc.
One focus area is to take control of is noise in the classroom. Studies are ongoing in determining the effects of noise on anxiety. However, initial reports indicate that students suffering from anxiety also suffer from noise annoyance. To them – any unwanted “noise” sounds like nails on a chalkboard.
Noise to all is a distraction – but as the brain develops, children learn to focus and tune out the noise. However, for a child suffering from anxiety, the noise will become the focal point. The unwanted sound leads the child to be more agitated and distracted from learning.
How to help children with anxiety
Providing a safe and calming classroom is the first big step to helping a child with anxiety; this includes reducing noise and noise annoyance by installing sound control solutions to the school.
Installation of Calando Panels to the ceiling or walls of a classroom will absorb unwanted noise in the room. The raw panel is white to blend into standard ceilings or walls, or it can be wrapped in coloured fabric to become a feature in your classroom.
Calando Desk is a portable divider system that slides onto a desk. The divider separates students, creating quieter spaces and reducing anxiety about social distancing.
Calando Booth is another portable option, consisting of three individual panels that slide together to create a “booth” around a computer and its user. While its primary design is to improve the audio quality of digital calls and reduce distractions, it is also a great way to create a safe and secure break out space for students suffering from noise annoyance.
ECO wall tiles are a functional and decorative wall or ceiling tile. The tiles are available in a variety of colour schemes, and depending on the noise control needs of the space have the option to be installed in patterns. The panels are pin receptive, so they are conducive to noise control while still allowing you to display classwork and important notes.
The number of children developing mental illness is increasing year on year. Therefore, setting up classrooms to reduce noise annoyance is becoming a necessity. Avenue Interior Systems has a team of professionals who can work with you to reduce noise in your classroom. Contact the team today on 1300 827 177.