FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) – Starting a new school year is already a stressful time, let alone during a global pandemic.
“There’s a lot of fear, there’s a lot of worries, there’s a lot of anxieties about what school is going to look like,” Katie Youngbauer, an Intensive Family Therapist at The Village said.
And because most schools fall plans won’t be finalized at least until the end of the month, another two weeks in limbo is adding extra stressors to both kids and parents.
“Some of those anxieties might be, ‘My kids aren’t getting the best education that they could receive. I’m not qualified to be a teacher. Now I’m going to work full-time and I’m going to teach and be a mom or a dad,” Prairie St. John’s Clinical Services Director Amanda Richter said.
Both Youngbauer and Richter say if that’s the case in your family, it’s important to have open conversations and healthy ways of dealing with your anxieties.
“Regardless of what you’re feeling, it’s just validating each other’s feeling. Everybody feels things very differently. Recognize it’s okay to feel that way. It’s ok to be nervous, it’s ok to be stressed,” Youngbauer said.
“Practice deep breathing and mindfulness exercises with them there are all sort of apps for your phone that you can download that are fun for kids. They really enjoy them,” Richter said.
“What can we do right now to help you feel a little bit better? I try to focus a lot on what kids can control in these situations. Our behaviors, our words, our actions,” Youngbauer said.
Both say in stressful times it’s important to remember to take time for yourself, whether it’s just 10 minutes or an hour.
“We can’t pour from an empty cup. So even though we have a lot that we’re working on, we have to take care of ourselves,” Youngbauer said.
While it’s not a bad thing to feel overwhelmed or anxious about these uncertain times, however both Youngbauer and Richter stress the importance of staying far away from the ‘what-ifs,’ and say instead to only tackle one problem at a time.
“I think that talking about the what-ifs with your kids can only increase anxieties. You want to live in the moment,” Richter said.
“We have to figure out when we notice that our mind is going down the rabbit hole, how can we stop that? How can we learn ways to just focus on this one thing that’s right in front of us right now?” Youngbauer said.
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