DENVER (CBS4) – Having back to school anxiety is not uncommon for kids, but continued concerns over coronavirus and the delta variant are adding a whole other layer of stress for students. Dr. Anat Geva is a clinical psychologist with the HealthONE Behavioral Health and Wellness Center.
“There are a lot of things that have changed in this past year. Some of them have been routine, some of them have been milestones that have been missed. So for kids to constantly have to adjust to that, it brings about a level of hyper vigilance that adds to normal school jitters.”READ MORE: Colorado Experts In Student Mental Health Watching For Uptick In Bullying Reports This Year
Geva says the biggest way parents can help their children is by empathizing and expressing to them that their feelings are normal. She says it’s also important to know the difference between normal back to school jitters and something that could be more serious.READ MORE: Colorado's American Academy Of Pediatrics Pushes For Universal Mask Mandates In Schools
“If a kid is always anxious, doesn’t want to go to school, is crying a lot, and has changes in eating or sleeping patterns, then that is the point where parents should probably seek some more support and see if there are things they can do at home with their child. If things don’t improve, that’s the time to get more professional help.”
Even parents may be feeling anxiety this year. We’ve seen conflict among parents over mask mandates and coronavirus restrictions in school.
“Kids are an emotional barometer, and they reflect what their parents feel. When parents are feeling intensely good or bad about a particular issue, the kids feel it too although they may not know why it’s so stressful,” said Geva. “What parents can do is really take care of themselves, and exercise good self-care so that when they’re around their kids, they pick up a sense of mastery and think about how they can tackle anxiety as a family.”