EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - As the school year begins, many children could be experiencing more anxiety than ever before.
”It’s understandable that children will be coming to school feeling some anxiety,” Parri Black, President and CEO of Youth First said. “They haven’t been in school buildings for five months or so. I’m sure their parents and the teachers feel that way as well.”
Anxieties that social workers with Youth First are ready to help with, but there are ways that parents can help ease the anxiety at home.
”It’s really important for parents to remain calm, and to role model their calmness with their kids,” Black said. “So that everybody steps forward into the school year with a positive attitude.”
Keeping children informed about the importance of keeping their mask on during the day, creating a schedule for children to get used to structure again, and limiting screen time can all be beneficial.
”You should take ownership of your child’s phone, especially at night,” Black said. “Keep that phone with you so that it’s not tempting for the child to be using it in the middle of the night. Sleep is so important for mental health and well being.”
It’s also important to go over the differences that children may notice when meeting with social workers at school.
”My room is now an overflow room, so I’m losing my whole classroom and I will be in an office - a smaller office,” Sara Wilson, Youth First social worker at Dexter Elementary School said. “I’m still able to social distance. But those rice and bean trays and things that they all really enjoy doing with their hands, we aren’t going to be able to do that because we need to make sure we can keep everything sanitized.”
Wilson says there will be other activities in her office to help kids manage their anxieties throughout the day. Click here for more resources on managing the stress of the upcoming school year.
”Myself and the councilor will still provide groups, so we’ll just socially distance groups so we can see more kids that way,” Wilson said. “We’ll probably have an anxiety group just to kind of normalize what our new today is.”