Wipe Away Anxiety Before Going Back to School
In the past, going back to school may have caused some kids to feel dread, knowing their summer break was coming to an end. Perhaps it allowed parents to feel a sense of relief. However, in today’s new world, the ongoing threat of COVID-19 might cause both children and parents alike to have a whole new set of feelings and questions such as: Will there be masks or no masks? Will social distancing be practiced? Will washing hands and covering sneezes be enforced? Will school be safe?
Furthermore, the stress of returning to school goes beyond just the concerns of cleanliness and safety. Due to the pandemic, many children have fallen behind academically and are facing increased anxiety about their academics. Additionally, COVID has required students to transition to doing things differently, which is likely to cause even greater levels of anxiety.
What can we do about all of this? The upside to dealing with pandemic-related anxiety is that it can be used as a learning opportunity. Parents and guardians can show their children how to deal with life’s challenges and reassure them that they will persevere through this challenging time. For example, it may be helpful to imagine a classroom chalkboard or whiteboard that has become overwhelming if filled with too much information. Just as they can wipe it down to start over, they can also clear away their anxieties so they can start the year with a clean slate.
Here are three ways to help your student wipe away anxiety this school year:
- Consider whether you are struggling with any anxiety of your own. Be sure to take care of yourself with regular exercise, enough sleep and a healthy diet. You may also want to think about speaking with a clinician if you start to feel overwhelmed. Remember, you cannot realistically care for others if your own needs are neglected.
- Provide your children with an open ear. This can be as simple as checking in with them and asking how they are feeling with the upcoming return to school. If they do not open up on their own, let them know that it is okay and completely normal to feel whatever they may be feeling about going back, and that you are always available for them if needed.
- Contact your child’s school. School administration and staff are well trained on how to support a struggling child and can provide specific information and insight on how to help ease your child’s transition.
Still feeling overwhelmed? Your LifeWork Strategies Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is not only here for you, but for your household as well!
For more information on LifeWork Strategies EAP services, call us at (800) 777-8138.