Uncertainty and Inconsistency
Going back to school after a long not-so-typical summer can be stressful and daunting for anyone, especially now given that most students have been learning from home and working virtually since the beginning of the global pandemic.
Some schools are returning back to on-ground means, others are staying online, and the rest still don’t know how they will be moving forward. This uncertainty and inconsistency of not knowing what procedures will be taken next has caused a tremendous amount of anxiety and confusion to some kids.
Whether or not your child is physically going back to school, you can help them prepare for this unusual season in healthy ways.
Transitioning back to school
A way to prepare your children for any back-to-school transition is by doing small things that were considered as habits or rituals back when everything was normal. This can help children start getting back to their old daily school routine and feel as if nothing major has changed and affected their schedule.
An example can be going to the library, buying school books, setting up a study desk at home, making lunch-boxes, or getting supplies from stationery stores.
As small as these steps may seem, they are actually quite important rituals, as they act as indicators for kids that school is starting again and that there is a certain consistency on how they can be ready.
It’s also good to get back into the daily school routine early on, or at least just a day or two before school starts. This means going to bed earlier, and maybe also limiting your children’s screen time, just to remind them that their summer break is over and that they will need to start focusing on school work again.
Addressing the back-to-school anxiety (online or on campus)
It’s also very important to engage in conversation with your children about how they are feeling about going back to school. Talk to your kids about what will happen at school, and ask them how they feel about this new season; support them both practically and mentally prepare for it. If they feel prepared, they won’t feel as anxious or stressed as they would be otherwise.
If your kids are still experiencing online schooling, encourage them to talk openly about their difficulties and worries. For instance, if they have a hard time focusing during online school, you can help them by designating a new area in the house where they can do all their school work, which will be sort of like their office.
If you work on creating this room together, and your child is involved in the making of this space, they will be excited to use it, which will motivate them to study and join their classes. You can also take their cellphone during class time or make sure no one else is in the room, or that there isn’t any background noise taking their attention away from the lecture that their teacher is giving.
If they are going back to campus and they are worried they might have a hard time interacting with their friends as they used to prior to the pandemic, try to reassure them and let them know that it’s normal for them to feel this way. Talk to them about how their classmates will probably be feeling the same way and that with time, they’ll be able to adjust and go back to normal.
Communication is key
The most important and effective thing that you can do with your child is communicate with them and make sure that they are able to voice their concerns to you. When you sit down with your children and have them address their struggles, and you both try to think of solutions together, they will feel more prepared for this new season, and their anxiety will lessen.
A word from O7therapy
If you find that your child shows extreme signs of anxiety that cannot seem to be manageable, asking for help from a professional and turning to therapy can always provide them with the support they need.