Children are returning to school and many of them are feeling anxious. After a year and a half of being home with their parents, many are suffering from separation anxiety. Not to mention the fear of staying safe during a pandemic. Children need structure and stability but initially school may seem like the unknown. Fortunately, there are many ways to effectively manage back to school anxiety.
Address their feelings and questions
One of the first things that parents should do is to validate their children’s feelings. It is perfectly normal for a child to miss their parents and it is helpful for them to know that their parents will miss them too. Parents should also do their best to exude confidence in the safety precautions taken by school administrators. Remaining calm will help children feel more positive and confident.
Focus on the positive
When talking to children about going back to school it is helpful to discuss all the things they miss, and look forward to, about school. Seeing their friends again is something most children can look forward to. It is also important to address any safety questions. Taking the time to answer questions about masking, distancing, and hand washing can go a long way to allay any fears a child might have. When parents calmly and concisely answer these questions, children can be confident and know what to expect.
Practice makes perfect
It can also be helpful to practice their routine before school starts. This might include showing a child where the bus stop is and letting them know who will be there to pick them up when they return from school. Parents might also leave their child alone in their room for a time to get them comfortable with idea of being more independent. This can help address potential separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety typically subsides within the first week or two of school. If it doesn’t, it may be time to seek professional help. A therapist may be able to help address the anxiety the child is experiencing. There are various behavioral techniques that can be utilized to help manage the anxiety. Often therapists will work with teachers and parents to identify the best strategy.
Hypnosis to manage back to school anxiety
Hypnotherapy is an excellent way to address anxiety. Hypnotic trance naturally relaxes the child and helps them to see things from a new perspective. Daydreaming is an example of light hypnotic trance many of us experience regularly. Children can be guided into hypnotic trance using relaxation techniques and their vivid imagination. Hypnosis can be more effective with children because they are more open to suggestion and tend to daydream often.
After being guided into hypnotic trance, suggestions/directions are given to the inner mind, also known as the unconscious mind, to remain calm and relaxed when in school. Studies show that subjects respond better when a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and hypnosis are used together. When a child is having recurring meltdowns, hypnotherapy can help manage back to school anxiety during COVID.