Royce Shook

1 year ago · 2 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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3 More Ways to Deal with the Uncertainty of School Reopening

1. Reframe Your Internal Dialogue

“The best approach to uncertainty about change and all of the uncomfortable feelings that come with it is to accept it. While it may feel like up until now, everything has been stable and predictable, life is constantly in flux. Change happens regardless of our thoughts and feelings about it.

Parents can practice acceptance through simple techniques. These include saying, to themselves or out loud, ‘I accept this change to school and my feelings of uncertainty. I can’t control it. I don’t have to like it, but I can accept that this year is different and that there will be change.’

Parents can also do this through mindfulness practices. These serve to give the brain a break and help us refocus. These practices can include setting aside one minute in the day to focus solely on breathing or focusing on the experience of drinking a cup of coffee. They can also work to identify any thoughts that may make uncertainty more stressful and work to gently reframe them.

Parents need to have compassion for themselves and others. We’ve never lived through a global pandemic before. We are uncertain. It’s OK. We’re all trying our best.” — Jessica Macdonald, clinical psychologist, North Carolina

2. Build a Strong Community of Support with Other Families

“Working with marriages and teens, I’ve seen the anxiety that comes with planning for a school year in which none of us know what to expect. The first thing parents need to do is to figure out the stance of the school district — to understand the district’s priorities in how they’ll provide school this year. If you have stayed connected with district board meetings or read the transcripts from these meetings, awesome!

The biggest factor in managing the uncertainty will be in having a strong support system outside of your family. You need a community of other people who are with you on this ride, whether it is choosing to homeschool or following the distance learning plans. These people will be able to connect with you in suffering and uncertainty. But be careful not to choose people who just wallow in the suffering and play victim to their circumstances. That will not help. What you need are people who want support and to support others.” — Alisha Sweyd, marriage & family therapist, California

3. Acknowledge the Circumstances and Maintain a Schedule at Home

“The first thing to do, which is very important, is to acknowledge that it’s going to be an unusual year. Be honest. Help kids understand what they are walking into and reinforce that the new environment is intended to keep everyone safe and healthy. Explain that things may change — and that’s OK. Explain that everyone will need to be flexible and accepting.

Maintain a schedule at home. Children thrive on a routine: Make sure they are getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet and getting physical activity every day. Recognize that both children and adults may feel worried and stressed, but model positivity and reassure yourself and children that it will be OK.” — Zubair Khan, child psychiatrist, Bronx, NY

3 More Ways to Deal with the Uncertainty of School Reopening

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