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Helping children feel less anxious about school

FILE (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Some kids may be feeling worried or anxious about what school will be like. Some worry about not seeing friends on a different in-school schedule. Some worry about staying home.

But experts say parents are putting their own fears onto their children.


 


Tom Golightly, Associate Clinical Director for BYU Counseling and Psychological Services, advises question, listen, and validate your kids when they speak about their hesitations. 

“The biggest tool we have as parents is to listen, to be the sounding board for that anxiety and fear. Most kids aren’t looking for solutions, they just want to be heard,” he said.

Most of the kids he talks to are excited to go back to school. But teens have questions about whether they will have the experience they want, with going to games and dances for example.

Tell them this is temporary, and remind them about what is in their control right now.

“It won’t be their entire school experience. It might be for the next few months, maybe the entire school year, but we are going to be back to normal at some point,” Golightly said on KSL’s talk show Dave and Dujanovic.

Golightly noted parents can model mask-wearing, hand washing, and social distancing. They can point out the future-thinking and compassionate reasons for these actions.

“The best way that schools are going to stay open and be as close to normal as possible, even though it’s not normal, is that you adhere to the standards that the districts are putting forward, and the CDC guidelines,” he said.