It's back to school time and the new school year definitely differs from the usual. And that can make children (and parents) feel anxious. Sarah Davis, coordinator of our King George Clinic offers these tips for handling the anxiety:
- Have open communication and discussions with kids. Encourage them to talk about their fears, including any worries and disappointments. Receive their worries and feelings without judgement. Normalize their emotions and provide support. Share a time when you felt scared/anxious/worried and how you handled it. Choose age appropriate examples. Model calmness during times of stress and anxiety. Assist child with age appropriate understanding of current safety measures with reassurance that these changes will not last forever.
- Provide child with the information about what the return to school will look like. Talking about it helps them to be prepared.
- Focus on the positives with their return to school even though it looks different. Whether it be in school with social distancing, where the positive is they are able to see their friends (with measures for everyone’s safety), or virtually where they are able to continue to learn and have some contact with their teacher and classmates online.
- Show your kids that you are excited about the return to school, whether it be virtual, hybrid, or full return to the school building. If attendance will be virtual, engage child in setting up their work space with specialized touches. Allow them to choose and pick out supplies, decorations, etc.
- Practice ways to manage stress and anxiety with kids. Ideas could be practicing mindfulness (try it while brushing teeth in the morning!) or belly breathing. Find some ideas here.
- Begin instituting a regular routine including wake up and bedtime in the weeks prior to school beginning. Set aside time each day for exercise and “recess” activities.
Show kids that you are excited about back to school, whether it be virtual, or in person. If attendance will be virtual, engage child in setting up their work space with special touches Allow them to choose and pick out supplies, decorations, etc.Tweet