Is Your Child Anxious About Returning To School?

Posted By: on May 28, 2020
Child Anxious About Returning To School

Even if your child was popular at school, enjoyed their classes and always looked forward to each new school day, they may be experiencing some anxiety at having to return there after such a long break. And for those who struggled at school, it can be ten times worse.

Such a huge disruption to their routine can throw kids off balance, and it’s important that as parents and caregivers, we recognize their concerns and do our best to help them as life returns to some semblance of normalcy.

Qualified therapists and counselors have some sound advice for helping your child cope with their anxiety about returning to school:

Get them to draw or write a story about how they’re feeling:

The important point in this tip is to help your child create a happy ending to the story and can show this in their writing or drawing. If their story or drawing “ends badly”, help them envision a new ending. To help with this, you can ask your child to think about all the things they enjoyed about school and what they are looking forward to doing upon their return.

Talk openly about how you’re feeling

If your child is anxious, then the chances are that you are too, and even if you do your best to sound positive, your body language can say a whole lot more and your child will likely pick up on this, making them feel even more anxious.

Be aware of your own feelings, and try not to let them be reflected in your actions. Instead, talk calmly and openly about them, which will help teach your child how to do this through your example.

Get into a routine before school starts up again

All our routines have been disrupted during the pandemic, and getting back into a normal one will be tough for your kids at first, but the sooner you start it up again, the sooner they’ll begin to see it as normal and not associate it with something negative; feeding their anxiety.

Start off with adjusting their bedtimes at least a week before they’re due to return, to help prevent them from associating an early bedtime with school. In fact, the sooner all unusual pandemic habits can be  adjusted back to how things were before the lockdown, the sooner your child will feel more comfortable about life returning to normal.

Go easy on your child as they prepare to return to school and remember that they are learning from you; if your mental state is grounded, and if you act that out, then you run the risk of unbalancing your child and making them even more anxious. Talk about what you’re feeling with your child to help them normalize the full range of human emotions…

And remember that if your child is really struggling with their anxiety right now, and you don’t feel equipped to help them deal with their emotions, you can reach out to a professional counselor, many of whom are offering telehealth services during the pandemic.

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