Following a year of remote learning, many schools across the world are preparing to return to in-person instruction for the upcoming semester.
But uncertainty around rising COVID-19 cases and mask regulations is lingering. There are some families who don’t believe in vaccinations and some who are against wearing masks. The personal preferences and the public health issues are stressful.
It’s no wonder that your child may be feeling anxious about going back to school in person.
While anxiety is normal during big transitions, we can’t let our fears keep us from moving forward. As the world continues to reopen, here are some tips to help you and your family overcome the challenges ahead.
5 Tips for Coping with Back-to-School Anxiety
1. Talk about it.
Worries and fears always seem bigger and scarier when you don’t talk about them.
Ask your child to verbalize how they feel about going back to school, and tell them to get as specific as they can about what they’re afraid of. Are they worried about getting sick? Unsure what to expect when it comes to protocols and regulations?
Resist the urge to downplay your kid’s fears to protect them. Honesty is always the best policy. Assure them, however, that the teachers and administrators at their school are there to keep them safe.
2. Review safety regulations together.
Did your kid’s school provide a list of safety regulations to follow? Review the list together and make sure your child understands all the rules before school starts.
To provide an added sense of security, pack a kit with extra masks and sanitizing wipes.
3. Focus on the positive.
Reframe negative thoughts with positive ones by focusing on what your kid can look forward to this school year.
Are they excited to see their classmates in person? Looking forward to playing a socially distant sport again?
Teach your child to practice positive self-talk to cope with their worries. Instead of thinking, “I might get sick,” have them assure themselves, “I will wear my mask and keep my distance to stay healthy.”
Breathing techniques can also be helpful tools for controlling anxious thoughts and feelings.
4. Build a routine.
Kids need consistency and predictability to feel secure—especially in difficult times.
Establish a daily routine with your child that revolves around waking up, eating breakfast, going to school, doing homework, and so forth. Add time to debrief with your kid about their day at school, and use that opportunity to check in to see how they’re adjusting.
5. Exhibit a peaceful energy.
Kids are quick to mirror what their parents are feeling. So try your best to exhibit calmness and confidence when talking about COVID-19 and going back to school.
If you need help navigating your own emotions through this transition, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team for support.
Parents, we’ve lived through one heck of a year. As life normalizes once again, be patient with yourself and your children. We’re all in this together!
Love and Blessings,
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A 3xTEDx speaker, media contributor, parenting coach, and a mom of two - helping families thrive by using the Guidance Approach to Parenting.