The fall is typically a flurry of back-to-school errands. These include shopping and coordinating schedules. Attached to it all is an elevated bit of stress. Add that to the sadness that comes with summer’s end, and it’s no wonder that many kids experience back-to-school anxiety.
This year adds a new layer tension. With the COVID-19 infection control issue, there are more problems to resolve.
Tips for Back-to-School Anxiety
Whether your child is distance-learning or starting in-person classes, the following are some tips to help you through back-to-school anxiety.
Kids are much more emotionally attuned to us that we know. That’s why it’s important to display calm and reassurance, because kids tend to mirror how the adults around them feel. Don’t use your kids to bounce your worries off of. If you’re feeling anxious, make sure you calm yourself before speaking with your kids.
You want to remember crises are important teaching moments. Your kids are going to have learned things from the pandemic, like how to manage big changes and crises. You want them to learn calm resilience. You don’t want them to walk away from this fearing the world.
Structure and boundaries make a parent’s life easier, but it also benefits kids. Whether they realize it or not, kids prefer structure, especially in times of crises. Having predictability in an unpredictable world provides a sense of comfort.
For children who are going to be in school, teach them routines regarding infection control. For instance, practice when to put on masks, when to take them off, and how to wash their hands. For young children, make it as fun and as light as possible.
If your child is distance-learning, find out their schedule and practice logging on and off. Set aside a dedicated area in the home, if possible, for them to attend “school.” Create a schedule for getting dressed, eating breakfast, and brushing teeth.
Find a Balance
Providing your kids reassurance is essential, but too much can be detrimental. According to the Child Mind Institute, giving children too much reassurance prevents them from developing their own self-soothing tools. They become accustomed to hearing that everything will be fine, and may become more anxious when they see events take a turn for the worse.
Instead, emphasize the things they can do to help themselves — like washing hands and wearing a mask. Ask them about their worries and give them the tools they need to handle problems they might encounter.
If your child is experiencing overwhelming anxiety, you may want to seek professional help. Teletherapy and telepsychiatry options are available everywhere and are shown to be effective. Helping your child through this especially tough period may take some assistance, and it’s at the tip of your fingers through technology.
Another way technology can manage anxiety is through CalmiGo. CalmiGo’s feedback lights and vibration breathing guide is a medication-free way to help settle back-to-school anxiety. Safe for children, CalmiGo can be the tool your child needs to adjust to the 2020 school year.