After lazy summer days, it’s hard to believe that a new school year is right around the corner - yet here we are. A new grade, new friends, and new teachers are exciting, but change and anticipation can be scary. Add in the uncertainty with the COVID-19 pandemic and many kids may experience heightened levels of anxiety. So how do we help our kids deal with their anxiety and emotions? In the past few weeks, Markham Public Library has had two great programs where health professionals talked about different ways that parents can help kids manage their emotions when faced with stressful situations.
Talk to your child and ask if they have any concerns or worries about going back to school.. Sometimes just by listening to your child and giving them the opportunity to tell you what is concerning them can help them feel better.
Validate and Normalize their Feelings:
Some kids may not even realize they are feeling anxious or stressed, but tummy aches, headaches, changes in sleeping or eating habits are all warning signs. If you are feel that your child may be getting stressed, ask them to tell you how they feel and ask whether they know why they may be feeling that way.
Help them to find the positives:
If you child is beginning to worry about the upcoming school year, help them to reframe their negative thoughts into positive ones. One of the best ways to do this is to show them how to be optimistic when something goes wrong and remind them about what they are good at and providing opportunities for them to succeed.
Help them the prepare:
Help your child prepare for the new school year. Encourage them to get school supplies together, pack their backpacks, talk about the plan for after school, ask them what they are most excited about. Preparation is key to dealing with situations where there are lots of unknowns. The more things feel familiar and controlled, the more kids can relax and feel more confident.
For further information, please feel free to watch the previously recorded Markham Public Library programs –
“Adjusting to a New School Year: Supporting your Child’s Anxiety and other Emotions “