Dealing with anxiety in the new semester in a pandemic

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Jitter in the new semester is normal every fall. However, as families prepare for the beginning of grades 2021-22, these mundane concerns clash with new uncertainties about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, making children and parents more anxious than usual. I am.

Parents can use many strategies to help them Children According to Dr. Elizabeth Reichert, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral science, this difficult situation is addressed.

“I often tell my parents that it’s a child’s storm lighthouse. This light shines steadily with a predictable rhythm and doesn’t sway no matter how big the storm,” Reichert said. .. “Their job is to be that lighthouse.”

Reichert talked with science writer Erin Digitale about how parents can help up-and-coming students of all ages, from kindergarten to high school, ready to deal with anxiety. School year to start.

1. What are some of the concerns your child may have?

Reichert: Many things come to mind. Many children are attending a new school for the first time. Maybe they are starting middle school, kindergarten, kindergarten. These are major changes in the non-pandemic era. With a pandemic, we may see more stress in children of all ages.

Children may have pandemic-specific concerns, such as the obligation of California students to wear masks indoors at school. More anxious children may ask a lot of questions, “How do you keep your mask all day long? What if you want to remove it? What are the rules surrounding it?” They may also be more afraid of getting sick.

For some children and teens, it is the first time they have been in close proximity to a group of people for a very long time, which raises concerns about social interactions.With the children in the middle high school, Social dynamics are especially important. They spent just a year and a half navigating their social life in a virtual world, and now they are re-navigating how to manage social dynamics directly. Social interactions may feel more emotionally exhausting.

Also, not all children are the same. In virtual learning, some children really struggled to stay enthusiastic, motivated, grasping materials, and staying connected with friends and teachers. However, other children, often shy or having difficulty in setting up large groups, thrived. For those more introverted children, returning to a large group can be a more difficult transition if they were in the comfort zone of their home.

2. What are the signs that parents may see that their child is anxious or emotionally distressed?

Reichert: This depends on the age of the child. Among younger children, parents may see increased tears about going to preschool or day care, clinging behavior, or regression of milestones such as potty training.When School age childrenParents may see resistance to going to school, opposite behavior, and physical complaints such as stomachaches and headaches. It will be really difficult to navigate, as the school has strict guidelines to prevent getting sick. Teenagers may also have school refusal or withdrawal behavior, such as staying isolated in a room, or more irritability or mood swings. Dangerous behaviors such as substance abuse can also increase.

Parents can expect some pain and anxiety in the first few weeks after the transition, especially when their children are required to do many new things at once. It can affect energy levels and emotional reserves. But if there is a big change from the baseline behavior of a child or teenager that doesn’t go away after a few weeks. For example, teens are increasingly withdrawing and refusing to engage in typical activities, or having an increasing number of children. Suffering — it’s a red flag. Parents may want to consider seeking help at that point.

3. What positive measures can parents take before school begins?

Reichert: Parents can start talking about returning. Listen to what is in your child’s mind. Then draw your kids into the fun elements of returning to school, such as choosing school supplies and new T-shirts. This is something that kids are excited about. You can also walk by the school, drive around, or visit the playground to increase your excitement. It may also be helpful to start practicing to say goodbye and leave home, encourage independent play, and help children adapt to moving away from their parents.

If bedtime shifts later in the summer vacation, parents can change their family’s schedule a week or two before the school goes to bed and returns to the habit of getting up early. They can also reestablish other pre-pandemic routines that have worked for the family.

4. What should parents do to help if their child is still in pain?

Reichert: If your child is anxious, there are important steps parents can take. When our children are upset, our nature is an instinct to relieve the pain they are experiencing. But the first step is not to jump directly to problem solving.

The first step is to make room for listening and listening to your child’s concerns. Admit that they are feeling, even if you disagree with it. Children need to feel that they are listening, that they can feel what they are feeling, and that they have space to talk to moms and dads.

Once parents have a better understanding of what is happening, they should work with their children to make plans. They can ask: Do kids feel they can? What can moms and dads help? Who else can help — friends, siblings, another family? For example, if a child refuses to go to school parents You can say, “How can I feel it easily?” Also, telling the kids that it is their job to go to school in the end. By overcoming difficult situations and creating small opportunities to deal with anxiety, children build the self-confidence and independence they need to gain more control and less fear. Children are resilient and adaptable, and it is often important to remember that after a transition period, they will find their own ditches.

Parents can also get help from schools and teachers. Teachers know this is a major transition for their children and are preparing for support.

5. Parents are also worried about this transition. What healthy coping strategies can be used to ensure that one’s stress is managed, rather than expressing stress in a way that can increase the child’s distress?

Reichert: Parents are the biggest model for our kids. If our children see us really worried about something, they will feed it. Parents need to pay attention to their feelings. That way, parents can adjust themselves and witness for their children.

We want to steadily support our children. You can say that you are worried or don’t know the answer. It shows that it’s okay to feel that. The problem is when our worries grow too great, when we are no longer calm, or when we are saying or going about things we don’t want to model for our children.

Finding moments of self-care is essential. It is helpful to take a few deep breaths at that moment, take a break in the bathroom, drink water, or do other things to create a short transition to adjust your feelings. Look back on what went well before the pandemic, and if exercise helps, try moving your back as much as you can, such as exercising for 5 minutes a day. This is not only important to you as a parent, but also shows your child that you have a strategy to take care of yourself.

We can also invite our children to work with us in healthy coping activities: parents school-Older and older kids said, “I’m pretty stressed about this. For me, going for a walk makes my head clear. Would you like to go for a walk with me?” Parents and young children foam together. You can blow — small kids are enjoying it, and you can talk about how a big breath for bubbles helps everyone feel better.

Help your child deal with jitter in the new school year

Quote: How to deal with anxiety in the new semester in the pandemic (August 18, 2021) from 8 in 2021 Obtained on the 18th of March.

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Dealing with anxiety in the new semester in a pandemic

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