It’s that time of year. That first back-to-school ad catches your eye and sends a shiver down your spine. Even if you have been out of school for 20 years, the shock never seems to lessen. This time, however, the season that usually marks sales on backpacks and pencils brings about a whole different beast. The Coronavirus pandemic warrants uncertainty and anxiety for parents and students alike. The complications are enormous. Considerations range from parents that can’t risk the virus coming back home, social and behavioural issues for students who have been out of the classroom for so long, how younger children will handle face coverings for extended periods of time, teacher stress, cleaning staff demands to college students unfamiliar with online education. These are just some of the thoughts and discussions running through many households right now further hampered by communication challenges, different levels of risk tolerance.
Some unexpected mental health concerns are raised with kids possibly experiencing separation anxiety in the transition from quarantine to class, and adult anxiety spreading to children returning to school. Kristina Lewellyn, Associate Professor of the University of Waterloo’s Social Development Studies Program explains that children surrounded with anxious thoughts of what school will be like will most likely take on that outlook going into class. Just one of the steps parents can take to ease their child into the pandemic is to try not to panic and have repeated conversations with them about what to expect. The article continues to suggest bringing a small toy, or stuffed animal that provides reassurance for the younger kids.
Other plans of action to beat anxiety to the punch include placing priorities on listening to your child, as suggested by Dr. David Fitzgerlad, the director of the UConn Health Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Outpatient Clinic. Parents are encouraged to recognize shifts in the child’s behaviour that suggests they are concerned. The rest of the suggestions listed in the article by NPR are:
- Stick to a schedule: With summer comes sporadic meals, wake-ups and bedtimes. Engaging in a schedule well before school starts can ease the shock of transition
- Giving the child space: Quarantine brought about a lot of family time, perhaps more than what is good for anyone. With new opportunities for space and different schedules, allow the children to adjust to what is right for them.
Some applications that you can explore with your children are Headspace: for breathing and rest exercise, Calm: for sleep and relaxation and WorryWiseKids, created by a psychologist focused on tips for children managing their anxiety.
For natural anxiety remedies, there is always Zenbev Drink Mix to help anxiety and calm you down naturally. Zenbev is the best anxiety treatment without medications. It helps keep you calm, cool and focused when everything gets overwhelming. Back to school can really be back to cool in the healthiest way with Zenbev!