Back-To-School Tips For Anxious Kids… And Parents

Family Counseling Insights brought to you by California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

There are so many questions swirling about as we get our kids back to school this year. Will masks be required? If so, for unvaccinated kids only? That would mean all kids under 12, since there’s no vaccine available for under-12 children. But wait — aren’t there trials underway testing the vaccine for younger kids? It’s all enough to cause a bit of anxiety in kids — and parents!

We’ve recently posted a couple of blogs to help you try to get back to normal: How To Help Your Child Return To Old School Routines and Tips For A Stress-Free Return To School.

With that background in mind, this article, Part 3 of our series, focuses on the value of staying positive, both for your kids’ and your own peace of mind. In an article from Blue Shield, the following advice is upbeat and down to earth, with an emphasis on maintaining good mental health.

Focus on facts and have patience. According to Blue Shield, “Parents can explain to children that the reason that older people were vaccinated first, is that the virus is more dangerous to them. That the vaccine is safe and effective in adults is reassuring, and most likely the vaccine will be available to children soon. We have all learned to be a bit more patient during this pandemic.”

Validate challenges, while staying positive. Kids and parents alike have probably vented their frustration over the last 19 months — there’s been a lot to complain about! Acknowledge — to yourself and your kids — that’s it’s ok to talk about problem areas. But it’s wise to do so from the perspective that these problems can be considered challenges — challenges to be overcome. That process begins with a validation of the issues: yes, let’s not kid ourselves, these are real problems. At the same time, they have real solutions. Let’s find them. Moreover, after acknowledging the problems, find new things to be excited about. Getting back to favorite sport can be something wonderful to anticipate. The list of things to look forward to is endless!

Find balance and accept change. Although we may be tempted to feel like we’ve been stuck in place over the last year, nothing could be further from the truth. Undergoing the stress and altered lifestyle of the last 18 months has changed nearly everyone in both subtle and obvious ways. Children, says Blue Shield, “may have developed new interests, made new friends and formed new habits. Just because our environment is returning to a pre-pandemic state, does not mean that we will interact with the environment in the same way.” Embrace the change and find positive aspects to a new future unfolding.

Take a break. Finally, while looking forward to a return to school, remember to appreciate the moment as well. It’s still summer — enjoy it!

The full Blue Shield article discusses each of these points in further depth.