It’s back to school time, raising anxiety for some students

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It’s back to school time for kids but it’s different this year. The pandemic shifted where and how children learned and that could lead to anxiety as students integrate back to in-person learning. We talked about it with Dean Aslinia, from the counseling department at the University of Phoenix.

How is back to school different this year?

“It’s one of those odd years this year. So kids going back to school have all the normal things to have to worry about, plus the additional unknowns that create that extra layer of anxiety when it comes to pandemic being sick, or perhaps some of the anxiety and the worry that they’re vicariously picking up at home via personal issues that maybe, mom and dad are experiencing stress from mom and dad’s work, lack of financial resources. So all of those things are now also being added to the typical return to school stressors that children typically experience,” Aslinia said.

What can parents do to make sure their child is doing alright?

“I would highly recommend parents keep an eye on their children. If they know their children tend to be a little bit more worried about things, then maybe their siblings or their friends.”

Parents should look at, “…if your child, on a usual basis, in a normal life, experiences higher than normal anxiety or tends to worry a bit more about their exams or what they’re wearing to school… those children are likely to experience higher levels of anxiety when it comes to ‘How am I going to get sick?’… ‘Am I going to get the virus and bring it back home and make my parents sick?’… ‘Do these masks really work?'”Aslinia said.

How can a parent or adult tell if something is wrong?

“Adults, trained professionals, school counselors, administrators, teachers, really need to start looking at subtle cues that the child might be experiencing, and really go with the baseline that they have established with that child in the past. So, if the child tended to be much more of an extrovert, outgoing, social and now they tend to be reserved… there’s potential or a flag to check… if nothing else but simply check in with a child,” Aslinia said.

Dean Aslinia, Ph.D., Department of Counseling Chair, University of Phoenix

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