We blinked and the summer is already coming to an end. We are just weeks away from the 2020-2021 school year and there are still so many questions left unanswered. Like you, your child may be experiencing some anxiety surrounding school as we near the possible return to the school building. You may even be experiencing some challenging behaviors from your child as a result. Having been home now for roughly 6 months, many routines have been long lost and getting your kiddo up at 6am to start the day, may seem impossible. Here are a few tips to help ease your child’s anxious feelings and start preparing for the return to school.

  • Start small – Begin the process of getting your child back into routine with simple and slow daily expectations. Start with getting your child up 15-20 minutes earlier each day leading up to school starting, in order to help them adjust to a sleep routine that will resemble their daily school routine.

  • Structure the day – Begin to take a look at your child’s day and implement structure. It might look something like this –
    • Wake up
    • Eat breakfast
    • Get dressed
    • Complete household expectations/chores
    • Outside/Active Play
  • Answer your child’s questions about the pandemic simply- They may be hearing some scary things! After all, we are inundated as adults with constant media focus right now. Its okay to be honest, but avoid the details and keep your answers short, sweet, and to the point while avoiding details that might be scary to them.

  • Prepare your child for what school may look like this year – Show them what six feet looks like by measuring with them. Rehearse fist bumps and elbow bumps and integrate them into your positive praise at home to make it habit. As a part of their school supplies, encourage them to use their hand sanitizer by picking up a fun smell or one with their favorite cartoon character. If required at school, start slowly getting your child used to wearing a mask. Explain how it protects them and others around them from spreading germs. Finding one in their favorite color or print may encourage your child to wear one. Start with a few minutes at a time and gradually extend the time as they become more used to the mask. Preparing your child for what to expect when they enter the class is key to reducing anxiety and helping your child to feel comfortable when things may look a little different than usual.

  • Let your child know its okay to feel anxious – In fact, we all probably do right now! Teach them that anxiety might feel like butterflies in their tummy. Help your child to identify what that body sensation is for them. Once it has a name, they will be able to communicate what they’re feeling. Your child may need a few new ways to cope with their anxiety, which is okay too! Online counseling is available to help with that. Sometimes all it takes is a session or two to help kids manage big feelings.

    As always, The Therapy Room is here to help! If you feel like your child may need a little extra support, contact us and we can set up an appointment. Online therapy is at your fingertips with The Therapy Room.

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