As children are back in school and continuing to adjust to their new schedules, one of our experts from St. Raphael Counseling, a ministry of Catholic Charities of Denver, shares top tips on how to ensure it's a smooth transition.
By Stacie Webb, Psy.D., St. Raphael Counseling
Class is now in session! Across the country, children, teenagers and teachers are back in the classroom. Students may still experience a range of emotions from excitement to worry as they continue to adjust. In my experience as a counselor, these are top ways to assuage any lingering angst.
1. Establish routines
Sticking to a routine helps kids continue to adjust to their usual school wake up and bedtimes, including breakfast and snack routines throughout the day. Involve kids in packing their backpacks and having all supplies ready each day. Allow them ample time as they learn what is needed for classes.
2. Recognize and validate feelings
Pay attention to what kids are saying and not saying. Some kids may verbalize worries about being back at school while others may display behaviors that indicate they are feeling anxious such as crying, irritability, stomachaches, clinginess, or refusal to go to school.
3. Model positive coping
Parents and caregivers can model healthy strategies for dealing with worries and anxieties. Kids naturally learn through observing others in their environment. Demonstrate coping and problem-solving behavior whenever you can. While kids learn through observing actions, they need to observe the language in use, too. A great way to do this is to verbalize the steps you are taking to handle a problem of your own and when a problem is still not easily fixed, let them see how you respond to that disappointment in a healthy way.
4. Re-establish connections
Find ways to get kids reacquainted with peers they may not have interacted with in some time. Arrange a time for kids to get together with some of their classmates to help them re-establish positive social relationships.
5. Remain Flexible
There is one thing that is certain and that is that not everything is going to go as planned. Prepare kids for this. Let them know that things may change, but you will be there to provide them information as you have it and support them along the way.
Stacie Webb is a Licensed Psychologist with St. Raphael Counseling, a ministry of Catholic Charities of Denver.