Managing ‘back to school’ anxieties
From an article by Care for the Family
In just a few weeks, most children in the UK will be returning to their classrooms en masse, and there will be a vast range of emotions that come as a result of this. It’s normal for children to find going back to school difficult – so add to that the challenges of the world we now live in, many parents will be struggling to manage their own feelings, and may not feel properly equipped to help their children.
Care for the Family have defined a few principles that might help. Here is a shortened version:
1. Be prepared
Try to think through what their concerns might be and what things might they be worried about, so you aren’t caught off guard. Anticipating these concerns means that we can prepare to support our children when they express their worries to us.
2. Choose a good time to check in with them
Try to ask gentle open questions in an everyday unpressurised context – while playing a game, if you are out for a walk or perhaps at meal times.
Take time to listen to what their concerns really are.
Try to ‘listen’ for their feelings. Even if we think they’re worrying about something insignificant, acknowledging how they feel will make them feel better than a dismissive “Don’t worry.".
5. Be supportive
These are challenging times for us as parents as well as for our children. It’s hard, but as far as possible let’s not pass on our own stress to our children. Our attitude can make a big difference to how they feel. Whilst we often think they aren’t listening to us, in reality they don’t miss a thing.
6. Stay in touch with the school
Find out how they are managing the challenges. Will masks or other protective clothing need to be worn? How will the classroom be arranged? What are the arrangements for lunch time? What other things will be different? If we find out these things first, we can eliminate surprise and help our children manage the situation.
7. Keep routines consistent
Maintaining as far as possible the regularity of familiar routines – meals, homework and fun will help give a framework and a stability to their day.
8. Manage anxiety
If your child is feeling anxious, one practical idea is to create a worry box. Encourage your child to write down or draw their worry, talk about it, and then put it in the worry box – out of sight and out of mind.
Whilst we can try to find positive ways to help our children to express their feelings, a hug or a cuddle may be all that’s needed to provide reassurance. Whatever their school situation and whatever their concerns, when they look back on this time in the future, what will matter most is that they knew we were there for them.
Read the full article here.
I would add prayer of course..
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