With the return of school, it’s normal to experience anxiety or overwhelming feelings. Esha, our Clinical Counsellor, knows how difficult it can be to manage not only your own emotions, but also to help your child manage theirs as well.
If you’re unsure about sending your kids to school, make an informed decision– gather information, and speak with your doctor about school. Some kids do better with structure; if you decide to homeschool, then work on options that provide structure at home and are sustainable for yourself and your children.
Anxiety is normal and meant to help us adapt to situations. Try these tips to manage your anxiety:
Take things step-by-step, or week-by-week
Get into a routine (e.g. get sleep on track and daily routines, such as meal times and snack times)
Incorporate physical activities into a routine; this is good for mental health and mood (e.g. short walk in between activities)
Practice mindfulness or other self-care activities; take slow calming breaths
Stay socially connected; talk to a friend and/or support person
Practice self-compassion as a parent
Children can sense anxiety and fear of adults. Similarly, adults can sense their child's anxiety. Listen to each other’s cues and manage personal/parent anxiety. Listen to how you might be communicating with your children.
“Wash your hands - I'm afraid you'll get sick.”
“I wash my hands because it can help prevent spreading germs.”
Listen to your child - acknowledge their fears and help them with problem-solving ways to deal with fears. E.g. “It would make sense that you're feeling scared about going back to school, there are so many changes happening. Let's talk about some things we can do to make you feel comfortable.”
It’s important to be calm and proactive in your conversations with your children. Check in with them frequently to see how they are doing. Their emotions will change regularly, and you need to show them that’s okay.