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Tips For Beating Back-To-School Anxiety Amid The Pandemic

The start of a new school year can trigger anxiety even during a “normal” school year, so imagine how today’s students must feel having to return to a classroom after battling a global pandemic for the past year and a half.

Now that many schools are reopening to in-person learning for the first time since the pandemic started, these students (and their parents) will face many challenges – some of which we’ve never faced before. So how can we beat this year’s back-to-school anxiety and make sure that the 2021-2022 school year is safe, fun, and educational?

Back-to-school season is here and for many, so is a whole new level of excitement and anxiety.

With the start of a new school year – particularly one affected by a global pandemic – mental health experts agree that now is the time to sit down with children and make sure their transition is as smooth as possible.

“A lot of our teens and children are anxious,” Sharron Frederick, a clinical social worker and therapist told ABC News. “I think it’s just about creating a lot of awareness about things that they can do to help calm them down. Exercise is so important, along with getting out of the house.”

But health experts and mental health professionals agree that getting back out there – safely – is one of the best things we can do right now. And schools everywhere are working hard to ensure that their classes and buildings are as safe and secure as possible. In fact, in a statement to NPR, a New York City Schools official said that the district’s buildings are “some of the safest places to be during the pandemic.”

Many school officials are worried about yet another year with kids staying indoors and at home. They’re worried students will miss out on important social and emotional development, not to mention their academic development. And, in some states, low, in-person enrollment can also put a school’s funding at risk.

So what are some top tips to help beat the back-to-school anxiety?

Of course, the best way to address stress and anxiety is often simply to encourage your child to talk to you about what is troubling them. Continue to check in with your child as the school year progresses and discuss any concerns with your child’s teachers.

It also helps to establish a routine early. With many kids having been out of classes for more than a year, some may have gotten off their sleep schedules or eating routine. To help make reintegrating back to in-person school easier, plan in advance and try getting them comfortable with new routines before they actually start classes.

Get familiar with new school rules. Many schools are also having to learn the ‘new normal’ as kids return from a year out of classes. This means that different schools have adopted different rules or routines and it’s important to get you and your kids familiar with these before they start school. It’s important they know the rules around social distancing and masks before they show up on day one.

Remind them that they’re safe. It should go without saying that having doubts or even being afraid of going back to school is totally normal. Look back at the year we just had – things got cray cray. It’s important that we as parents, brothers, cousins seem like we are secure and confident in them going back to class. That helps children feel confident, too.

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