After months of suffering stress from school closings due to Covid lockdown and other factors, the word of choice for children is “Anxiety”.

  • Oxford University Press researchers conducted a survey of more than 8,000 study subjects.
  • The participants were asked what words they use to talk about health, wellness and lockdowns. 
  • One in five students who were surveyed selected ‘anxiety’ as the number one word. 

No surprise then that after many lockdowns and school shut downs, the children of this nation voted “anxiety” their Words of the Year.

Oxford University Press Lexicographers conducted a survey with more than 8,000 students to find out what words were used for discussing lockdowns, health and wellbeing. 

One in five people chose anxiety as the number one word.

According to researchers, the results show the impact Covid-19 has had on youth.

Coronavirus was last year’s favorite word among children, but Brexit is the new favourite.

This year, ‘anxiety’ was closely followed by ‘challenging (19%) and ‘isolate (14%)

Over a decade, academic researchers, experts, and lexicographers at the OUP’s Children’s Language division have studied the evolution of children’s self-expression and vocabulary.

To reflect the changing usage of certain words (e.g. lockdown, bubble) in the context of the pandemic, the department will revise their dictionaries as well as resources for schools.

Lexicographers at Oxford University Press used a survey of more than 8,000 pupils asked about words they use to discuss health, wellbeing and lockdowns. Researchers say the findings reveal the social impact Covid-19 and lockdowns have had on youngsters

Oxford University Press Lexicographers conducted a survey with more than 8,000 students to find out what words were used for discussing health, wellness and lockdowns. Research shows that lockdowns and Covid-19 had a significant social effect on young children.

We will add new phrases like self-isolation.

Helen Freeman from OUP is the director of home and early education for OUP.

“It is important that now more than ever we support children’s development of language at school and home.

“The findings show the importance of adults being aware that the language they use with children has a profound impact on their learning and wellbeing.

Survey respondents were teachers who represented the opinions of nearly 8,000 UK children aged three to nine years old.

Wellbeing was chosen as the topic of vocabulary research in 2021.

It was due to the positive impact Covid-19 made on children’s education as well as the increasing awareness about mental health in children.

Helen Freeman, director of early childhood and home education at OUP, said: 'The research highlights the vital role language plays for children when it comes to self-expression, learning and wellbeing (file photo)

Helen Freeman from OUP is director of home and early education.  

Joe Jenkins, The Children’s Society’s executive director for social impact, stated: “It’s worrying that anxiety is the number one term, but it’s not surprising considering all the restrictions, changes, and limitations children went through.”

According to the charity’s Good Childhood Report published last August, more than 300,000.00 children in UK were unhappy in their lives for 2018-19.

The survey asked 85 teachers from participating schools to identify the most used word when speaking with their students about wellbeing and health in the last year.

Research revealed that resilience was their number one choice (31%). This reflects the importance of giving positive direction to their pupils.

The second was challenging (19%), and the third was wellbeing (18%)