Advice for Soothing Kids’ Back-to-School Anxiety
Advice for Soothing Kids’ Back-to-School Anxiety

Advice for Soothing Kids’ Back-to-School Anxiety

Devon Meyers / TMT In this past year of a profound global health crisis that has upended our daily lives and, at worst, stolen the health or lives of friends and loved ones, it’s no secret there are more people suffering with anxiety. With in-person instruction now offered at local Malibu schools, this may be a stressful time for those returning after a year of remote learning.

According to a report from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, due to the lack of peer interaction that helps develop crucial social skills, many children have suffered an emotional, mental and developmental toll along with a probability of falling behind in their studies.

The anxiety of returning to school after a lengthy period away caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will likely be more stressful than a normal autumn return to the classroom, especially for children. A few therapists contacted by The Malibu Times did admit they were seeing children and adults with varying levels of anxiety related to the coronavirus pandemic and a return to a more normal life. The Wellness Center operated by the Boys and Girls Club of Malibu earlier told TMT it offers social support services to students including transitioning struggling distance-learning students, back to in-person instruction. BGCM social support services director Peggy Zherdev earlier confirmed: “We have professional therapists who are trained and have crisis intervention skills.” 300×250 image ad There are also things parents can do to help.

“Be attuned to your child,” advised psychotherapist Elizabeth Topp of the former Roots & Wings Center in Malibu. “Although many children are excited about going back to school,” reengaging in public life can stir up fears in some children who have “gotten used to being home and like being with their parents.”

And going back to “normal life” is not as simple as just flipping a switch.

“There’s a whole spectrum of anxieties,” Topp said. “Families have to decide what their own level of comfort is. If you have someone sick at home, children could carry that anxiety that they could bring [illness] back home to a vulnerable family member. At this point, many are comfortable with the protocols and practices that are in place at school.”

The PhD pointed out that even with mask requirements, “there’s a sense of liberation to be able to go to recess.”

For parents with kids who are anxious, Topp suggested, “The best thing to do is normalize any fears of the unknown. This is something we haven’t lived through before.” 300×250 image ad Still, she said, we have many things in our control, such as washing hands and wearing masks.

The psychotherapist suggested parents “check our own anxiety. If we are anxious, children pick up on that. Stay calm, grounded. Be available. […]

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