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Back to School Jitters for Parents?

The past few years have been unusual where school is concerned. Some kids went back right after the first year of Covid, some had staggered schedules, some stayed home. But now in Fall of 2022 all students are officially returning to campus. The first day of school has always been anxiety-producing for kids, but what about parents?

Some parents are worried about sending kids to school after such a challenging worldwide struggle. This nervousness is especially intense for first time school-parents.

In some cases it can be worse than the kids’ anxiety. But by offering cognitive strategies, mental health professionals can change parents’ thinking patterns and reframe how they cope with the issue.

It’s important to remember nervousness in parents can rub off on the kids. They take cues from authority figures - kids can be impressionable so our calm helps them be calm. Controlling your nerves gives kids a sense of security and there is a way to do it that helps both parent and child.

First things first: the problem needs to be addressed. Parents need to “feel” their stress and not deny it. Nervousness won’t be conquered by pretending it’s not there. Acknowledgement sets the stage for everything after.

The next step might be setting some goals or making a list. It’s not just for an overview - the nerves of sending little ones to school for the first time can be overwhelming. Trying to do everything at once can feel even more daunting. Instead, break your goals down little by little. Go slow and meet each task head on with full focus.

A list can be particularly helpful for talking to a counselor if attending therapy sessions.

Then it’s time to confront the fear itself and actually send the child to school. When we do the thing that scares us, we can begin learning how to deal with it - how to manage the anxiety and inner feelings coming up.

Now for the mental reframing technique: consider positives and remember going to school is a lesson in independence for kids. This time forging their way in the world builds character and helps them grow into well adjusted adults. Bringing this to the forefront of one’s mind can put things into perspective for the parents.

Consider what you can and can’t control. The reality is, letting go is part of sending kids off to school. Going to school in this case is “life practice” for both kids and parents. As both parties do more of it, it gets easier and eventually becomes normal life.

Parents can learn to trust the teachers and professionals whose life work is helping children learn and grow. After all, we did it and so have most people throughout modern history.

Covid and other illnesses are still of concern to many people so remember to keep kids updated on vaccines and make sure they know reasonable safety/health measures. With vaccination and good hygiene, we can all stay as safe as possible as the pandemic winds down.

Bregman Medical Group has decades of experience with families treating various mental health issues. We offer online psychiatry and therapy right to your device! Simply schedule at www.bregmanmd.com or call 305-740-3340.

References:

https://www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/features/COVID-19-helping-children-transition-back-to-school.html

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-08-12/parents-have-new-back-to-school-list-amid-covid-year-three

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2022/08/07/covid-school-health-anxiety/


By BregmanMD | September 14, 2022 | Mental Health

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