2 Ways to Deal with the Uncertainty of School Reopening
My grandson in Australia has been out of school for a while as the lockdown in his State continues. My grandchildren in BC are going back to school when the numbers of COVID are increasing and anxiety is building in their parents and in us. How do we face and deal with the anxiety is a problem all parents have currently? Here is some advice that may help taken from the magazine “Fatherly”
Identify Your Feelings and Say Them Out Loud
“This ongoing uncertainty is unsettling, which leads to a lot of parental anxiety. The problem with unchecked parental anxiety is that our kids pick up on it and take it with them. Kids often don’t know how to maneuver their own abstract feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. They don’t have the words or concepts for how to figure out what and how they feel. So, they take it with them. This unchecked anxiety in kids often looks quite different compared to adults. It can show up as a ‘bad attitude,’ irritability, tantrums or meltdowns, withdrawal or isolation, or depression.
COVID adds a whole other level of uncertainty. It’s hard to make plans, to reassure ourselves and our kids, and to move forward because there seems to be no end in sight. The good news is that it will end. Things will get better eventually. We need to believe this, live it out, and model that for our children. They look to us for comfort and safety.
The best way to handle uncertainty, in general, is to identify the feelings and say them out loud. That initial awareness will go a long way. Once you identify how you feel, it’s important to show compassion for yourself and to be gentle with yourself and others. Have an ongoing conversation about their feelings. Connection helps with feelings of uncertainty and other uncomfortable emotions. Kids may act like they don’t need you, but they do.— Ann-Louise Lockhart, a clinical psychologist and parenting coach, San Antonio
2. Focus on What’s Within Your Control
“Parenting is incredibly hard and emotional under normal circumstances, but we’re now asking parents to do impossible tasks, such as working full-time while homeschooling full-time or having to choose whether or not to send their kids to a school that cannot guarantee safety. These unprecedented challenges are consuming parents. We cannot minimize how difficult this situation is or how valid the anxiety is.
Get support from those around you. Talk to other parents going through the same things. Being able to share and normalize a difficult experience with others provides comfort and peace and a safe space to externalize the anxiety and fear.
And focus on what’s within your control. So much of life feels out of control at the moment. Think about even little things that you can control such as how much water you drink a day, eating regularly, getting enough sleep.” — Jessica Small, family therapist, Denver
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