It is amazing how the spread of COVID-19 evolved into a pandemic that has affected almost every grain of our lives. Be it work or visiting family, or even starting the school year.
It is natural to feel overwhelmed with so many emotions that are tied to it. If you are like most parents this school year, then you feel the direct impact from the changes the pandemic has caused.
With most schools opting for an online option to reduce the spread of COVID-19, you and your children may find yourselves in uncharted territory with a new world of education being molded right in front of you.
Teachers in New York City threatened to call out sick amidst plans to reopen schools, and recently, Arizona teachers did so too, which forced a school district to close.
As emotions run high and teachers fear over safety concerns, it can only be imagined how the students and parents are feeling as well. After all, the pandemic is affecting everyone. What was once normal no longer is.
First, realize everything is going to be okay. No, seriously, it truly will be, and here are some tips on how to reduce your anxiety during this trying time.
1. Remain calm before having any discussions with your children.
This is sometimes easier said than done. But take a deep breath and let go of any worries. Inhale deeply and exhale slowly.
First Children Services reminds everyone on their website that, “As classes resume, it will be important for parents to be calm and proactive in conversations with children.”
In these conversations, they state that wavered emotions in response to the pandemic are normal, but as parents, the responsibility remains in assuring your child that their feelings are acknowledged and cared about.
If they are young, they will probably have tons of questions about why school has been pushed back, why the options for school are online, or if they are in person, why they must social distance and always wash their hands.
2. It is okay not to have all the answers your children are seeking.
Do not fret if you do not have any answers for the questions your children ask. If adults alone are trying to figure things out and adjust, one can only imagine what a child is thinking and feeling with their natural curiosity.
Be honest with them and tell them you are unsure how long their school year will be going in the new way it is. Kids Health states on their website, “Focus on helping your child feel safe, but be truthful. But if the topic doesn’t come up, there’s no need to raise it.”
They imply there is no need to raise more fear over uncertainty. The key is to help your child feel safe but to also comfort them with honesty if the need arises.
3. Do not be ashamed to seek professional help if it becomes overwhelming for you or your child.
If talking with your child and comforting them is not doing the trick for either of you, there are counselors, therapists, and psychiatrists who can help.
In fact, Psychiatry.org lists resources on their website, including hotlines to call that provide support during the pandemic, and informational psychiatric webinars.
USA Mental Health First Aid also suggests that, “If you or someone you care about feels overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression or anxiety, or like you want to harm yourself or others call 911.”
Do not ever feel trapped with all that is going on, which includes adding your child’s schooling to your list of things to balance during this pandemic.
There are plenty of resources available to turn to. Keeping you and your children’s mental health is crucial as this school year begins. It’s okay to feel what you’re feeling. But with tough times, comes adversity. There are ways to keep pushing forward despite all that is happening!