Individual Counseling Can Help Deal With Emotions About School During Pandemic
Individual counseling at Take Charge, Inc. can help to cope with the complicated feelings surrounding returning to school or schooling remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Children and adults alike may be feeling anxious about school this year, with very valid concerns about health, bullying, and isolation forefront in our minds. It isn’t just kids going back to school, either. Many of our adult clients are going back to college due to job losses or transitions, and have most of the same concerns as children.
For students returning to physical classrooms, safety is the primary source of anxiety. Stressing the importance of hand washing, mask wearing, and social distancing without heightening fear is a delicate but crucial balance. These measures should be presented as protective solutions that make it safe to go to school rather than emphasizing the risk. Individual counseling can help you learn ways to alleviate anxiety while communicating the necessity of precautions. This free, downloadable ebook available from the American Psychological Association may also help young children to understand what the virus is, how it spreads, and what they can do to help.
Bullying, particularly around stigmatization of pandemic-related issues, may be of additional concern this year both for in person and online schooling. It is important to explain to children that the virus has nothing to do with how someone looks, where they are from, what language they speak, or their social or economic status. It is also vital to talk to kids about bullying, tell them that they deserve to be safe in school, and that they should always feel free to talk to a trusted adult about any issue they are having. You should check in with them daily and ask them about their feelings as well as their time at school and their activities online. If there is an issue that you are struggling to identify or resolve, individual counseling is recommended.
For students learning remotely, isolation and lack of physical activity are key issues. Safe and monitored use of video chats, social media, and online games can provide opportunities for those feeling isolated to connect with, learn and play with their friends, parents and relatives. Balancing online time with offline activities is crucial, and time should be spent outside whenever possible. Adequate exercise relieves stress and helps with focus, so daily physical activity should be emphasized.
Stress is often contagious, especially within families. Children are not only exposed to their parents’ stress, but learn how to cope and regulate it by watching them. If you are not handling the stress of returning to school in a pandemic well, your children are likely to be suffering similarly. Individual counseling can teach you coping strategies to not only alleviate your own stress, but instill healthy coping mechanisms in your children.
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