Back to school anxiety - How can parents prepare kids as the time to go back to school gets closer?July 23, 20202 min read
The new school year is usually an exciting time for kids and a time to celebrate for parents who have been keeping busy all summer long. A new grade and new adventures at school await. But this year, with children heading back to class in just a few short weeks, anticipation has been replaced by anxiety as a lot of kids are stressed about the idea of returning during COVID-19.
For most children, predictability can play a major part in being comfortable and feeling secure. As well, with children seeing the news, having spent months in lockdown and knowing that they’ll likely be wearing a mask all day, the pressure of the ‘unknown’ may be enormous.
“It is normal for kids to feel nervous about returning to school, especially if they have been learning from home for months,” said Dr. Meredith Rausch, a leading counselor education expert and associate professor in the Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation in the College of Education at Augusta University. “To help ease their anxiety, I encourage parents to reassure their children about the safety measures in place to keep them safe and remind them about the positives, such as being able to see their friends and teachers.”
Rausch also recommends the following tactics parents can do at home to help ease the back-to-school anxiety.
Wear a mask at home: Wear one while playing a game, reading a book or having some screen time. Normalizing life in a mask may be the new normal.
Share how you feel: Parents who can share their feelings will likely prompt children to share their own. Let kids know that adults are nervous and are sometimes afraid too, and encourage young ones to open up and express any lingering or pent up emotions.
This coming school year will be like no other in memory, and as parents get kids ready to head back into the classrooms – there are still a lot of questions remaining.
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Dr. Meredith Rausch is a leading expert in counselor education, and her research focuses on underserved populations, particularly LGBTQ+ individuals and women.
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Meredith Rausch Associate Professor
A leading expert in counselor education with research focusing on underserved populations, particularly LGBTQ+ individuals and women.