Dial Down Back-to-School Anxiety

The beginning of the school year is always a time of anxiety for kids and their families. This year, that usual anxiety has been ratcheted up by COVID-19.

Whether your child’s school is going back to the classroom full time, using a hybrid schedule or employing e-learning only, your child might have trouble adapting, and that could create stress on top of stress. What’s a parent to do? Here are some tips:

Stay positive. Acknowledge the challenges of the new year, but also emphasize good things: learning and doing new things, breaking up stale routines, gaining independence and – for some kids – re-engaging in extracurricular activities.

Assure them they aren’t alone. Kids often think everyone else has everything figured out and they don’t. Remind your kids that the pandemic is hard on everyone, then talk about what you can do together to make things better.

Be present. Set aside time to talk about each school day.

Promote healthy living. Make sure your child eats well, exercises and gets plenty of sleep.

Know when to get outside help. If your child is showing signs of serious distress, don’t hesitate to check with your school counselor or pediatrician.

Kids are generally pretty resilient, so, with your help and encouragement, the odds are good they will eventually find a comfort level with the new school year. And, who knows? You might, too.

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