Tomorrow after six weeks of homeschooling and close to ten weeks of isolation for most people, some of our kids are going to be heading back to school.
This is most likely going to be a challenging day/night for most of your little people as the reality of heading back to school tomorrow really hits them. If we think back to our days at school, and some of the anxiety that we would have returning after normal school holidays, you can only imagine what might be going on for them as they try to enter back into a world they have been separated from for quite some time now.
This nervousness may manifest in different ways for your children, they may be overly emotional, full of anxiety and not able to settle or sleep, they may be acting up and a bit more ‘challenging’ in their behaviours or perhaps even be very quiet and withdrawn. You may also have a child who is more than happy to get back to school and filled with excitement about seeing their friends again, which is great! Yahoo!
As a mother of a very anxious little person, and a Kinesiologist who sees a lot of children in regards to school stresses and anxieties, I thought that it might be helpful to share some of the quick little things that you can do to help ease them back into their return to school;
- Have a chat: sometimes we can avoid discussing things with our children that may make them anxious or upset, however it’s important for your children to hear you validate their feelings. Perhaps start by just sitting down with them or going for a walk in the sunshine and gently bring up how they are feeling about heading back to school.
Letting them know that you understand and can relate to how they feel helps them to understand that their feelings are completely normal and safe to talk about. Perhaps some statements like “I know that when I had to go back to work I felt a bit sick in my tummy, how are you feeling about school tomorrow?” or “sometimes after holidays I was a bit worried to see my friends again, how do you feel about seeing your friends?”.
- Talk to them about the reality of the virus and subsequent changes at school: again as I mentioned above, sometimes we can avoid discussing things with our kids that may cause them more upset and the reality of the pandemic is something that may be on that list. It’s a good idea to just cover off with them what you think that they are capable of taking in, as it’s important that they hear some facts from you so that they don’t escalate things in their own heads. They may have overhead your conversations or picked up on things in the news and formed their own opinion on the current situation. Something as simple as explaining to them that school may look a little different when they return, there will be hand sanitizer around that you will need to use more often than before, you may be told to sit in different spots and some of your usual activities and playtime may be different. Reassure them that you are happy for them to return to school and that you know that their teacher is going to guide them through anything that is different so that they understand and feel safe there.
- Get active: the best way to ground ourselves back in our bodies and get out of our heads is by physically moving. Get your kids outside this afternoon, it’s a nice sunny day so head out for a bike or scooter ride, go for a walk with your dog, take a run around the local oval or set up an obstacle course in the backyard – they’re always lots of fun!
The more that you can get your kids moving and getting some fresh air and sunshine the more they’ll be able to shake off those yucky feelings that may be sitting inside them at the moment.
- Have a bath: baths are fantastic for helping our bodies to relax and bring balance to the water element within us, which is where our anxiety can sit. By drawing a nice, warm bath of an evening you can let your little person lay back and float in the beautiful warm water to help them relax their body and mind before they head to bed.
- Ensure they get enough sleep: this is a big one. I’m sure that bedtimes and wake up times have changes significantly during lockdown, so if you haven’t already you can start by getting them to bed 15-20mins early each night without them noticing and explain that it’s fine if they’re not tired, they can read in bed or just lay there and rest. The important thing is that they are in bed, relaxing and winding down at a better time each night. This will help make their moods less extreme and therefore hopefully reduce the anxiety about returning to school. We all know how important a good nights sleep is and how much better you feel after you’ve had enough sleep!
If you have crystals in your home, try placing an amethyst or selenite crystal next to their bed as they are fantastic crystals for calming down the nervous system and any sort of emotional energy. They are also fantastic for bringing balance back to the brain and clearing out obsessive thinking. Also try a few drops of lavender on a cotton pad and pop it under their pillow, it’s a beautiful, calming scent which can help them relax and drift off into a peaceful night’s sleep.
- Have something exciting to look forward to: finally I would suggest having something exciting for your child to look forward to. Calendars are great for this, we have a calendar on the fridge and have little magnets that show what is happening each day. So for this week we have Tuesday to Friday marked for school and then on Saturday we have a special star magnet. This magnet is for a ‘special surprise’ that is happening on Saturday. I’m not entirely sure what that surprise is as yet, but it doesn’t matter as my daughter is so excited to find out what the surprise is so it’s working! Haha
We will probably do something like a special dinner that she can pick herself, visiting a friend/family member (now that we can!) or perhaps even making a blanket fort and playing board games together which is one of her favourite things to do.
It’s such a big unknown time for all of us as we try to navigate this pandemic and all that it entails and anxiety and worry are all very normal emotions to experience. Be gentle with yourself and your little ones and remember that you’re not in this alone – we are all just doing the best that we can.
I hope that you have found something in here that can help you and if you need some extra help in supporting yourself or your child during these challenging times please feel free to reach out to me and we can chat about how a Kinesiology session can help you both.