Back-to-school anxiety for parents amid COVID-19

The mental health of parents may suffer due to the stress of the pandemic during the back-to-school season
The mental health of parents may suffer due to the stress of the pandemic during the back-to-school season.
Published: Jul. 22, 2020 at 9:57 PM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - Getting the kids back to school is already a stressful time. Now, add a pandemic to the mix and that can feel like a whirlwind of disruptive thoughts and emotions for parents.

“Parents are feeling stressed, isolated and unsure about what’s best for them and their families,” said Dr. Paula Griffith, who is a child and adolescent psychiatrist at St. Luke’s Health System. “A lot of people are feeling worry, sadness and grief over the changes that we’re facing.”

The mental health of children, can also be at risk during this time. “I do think that it’s important to talk to kids about what’s going on with developmentally appropriate language, help dispel some of that fear and uncertainty,” said Dr. Griffith. “Certainly, for kids who are doing online learning only learning, I think it’s even more critical to consider how we can support healthy social relationships for those kids.”

Although you might feel powerless with the limited options we have, there are ways you can get back to feeling in-control and that’s by taking the necessary precautions.

“So, stocking up on hand sanitizer. If your school requires masks, making sure you have several of them. Making sure that we have all the school supplies we need so that your child can use their own supplies and isn’t touching everyone else’s supplies. Start to get sleep back on to a school schedule. Healthy sleep is really important for physical and emotional well-being,” explained Dr. Griffith.

What will truly prepare parents for the uncertain future is to take care of their emotional health by reaching out for help.

“The world we live in allows us to have social connection without physically having to be 6-feet of one another. There is an opportunity for us to reach out to our social network. Whether that’s family, close friends… This too shall pass,” expressed Dr. Griffith.

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