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Counselors offer advice for back to school anxiety

Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 8:48 PM EDT
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CRAVEN COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - The new school year is almost here and for many kids that will mean starting the year in a very different manner. All of these changes can bring on stress and anxiety for kids, but school counselors say there are ways parents can help.

Part of all return to school plans include making a plan for every student, regardless of speeds needs or ability.
Part of all return to school plans include making a plan for every student, regardless of speeds needs or ability.

Roxann Wheeler is a school counselor at J.T. Barber Elementary school in Craven County. Wheeler says in just the last few days she’s received several notes from students who are struggling with all of the changes caused by the pandemic.

“I’ve received some messages this week from students that are saying they are very stressed out, they want to come back to school, please let me come back to school,” said Wheeler.

Wheeler says parents should be alert to how their children are acting and feeling, and that stress can manifest itself in the form of lack of sleep, or even loss of appetite. But keeping your kids in a routine can be one of the easiest ways to help them stay ahead of those feelings.

“Were they’re going to bed at night at a decent time, getting up, eating breakfast, making sure they’re getting some physical activity and having some coping time with their child,” said Wheeler.

Coping time can be just listening to how your child is feeling or having a conversation with them, on a kid friendly level about what’s going on. Wheeler says it could also be taking time to practice mindfulness.

“Mindfulness is about being in the here and now.” “Asking yourself am I okay right now, and taking the day pretty much moment by moment, instead of using anxiety to stress about what hasn’t happened. Be in the moment, check yourself make sure you’re okay, take some cleansing deep breaths and take a moment to just be still,” said Wheeler.

Wheeler also says that school counselors will be on the look out for how children are acting and responding once school does begin to ensure they they are mentally and emotionally well.

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