Returning to School: How to Handle Uncertainty and Fear

Kimberly Morrow

Returning to school is always filled with huge emotions, and anxiety is commonly at the top of the list.

Layer in times of uncertainty, like during Covid 19, and the sudden changes to every aspect of school, it’s easy to see the cause of great concern for students, parents, teachers, and staff.

At Anxiety Training, we can’t predict how unpredictability will affect each school year, but we can provide you with skills to handle the anxiety and worries. We know that anxiety can affect learning, so it is imperative that everyone in a school community, teachers, students, and parents, have the knowledge and skills to help students face their fears and tolerate uncertainty.

The Importance of Validation

When we teach parents and teachers how to coach a child/student through anxiety, we always begin with validating their feelings. This is certainly true when finding a way to come out of quarantine during the pandemic and move into doing things we value, even though new risks are at every turn.

Once you accept and allow how you and your child/student are feeling, the next step is to practice taking reasonable risks in your life so that your brain gets used to this before school begins. The pandemic was not the only risk in our lives; we live with them all the time. For example, I tell my clients that their brains had to learn how to get used to taking the risk of driving in a car.  Then we can use that concept to teach our brains how to return to school.

Unlearning and Relearning

For most of us, driving our car is one of the riskiest things we do, yet most of us have little to no anxiety about it. Why?  One way you help your brain handle the risk of driving without sounding the alarm every time you get into the car is by connecting to why you value driving (to visit a friend, to take a vacation, to have more freedom to move further distances). Another way is using appropriate precautions (using a seatbelt, turning on your windshield wipers in a storm, going the speed limit).

Take some time to remind your brain why you value teaching or attending school and what precautions you will be using. Then you will need to be very directive with your anxious brain by taking the action steps to participate in the school year in a manner that you choose, not in a way that simply makes your anxious brain happy and causes you to avoid things that are important to you.

Accepting Is The Key

As the school year returns, we are all bound to feel anxious. Accepting those feelings, taking precautions, and connecting to why we value school are just a few ways to teach your anxious brain to quiet down.

Anxiety Training has created 3 videos to provide your school community everything we know to help you face your fears, live with uncertainty, and find value in what you are doing. We have been teaching these skills for over 10 years and have seen the difference it makes when teachers, students, and parents all have the same skills and speak the same language regarding anxiety. We are excited to offer this series to your school community to help everyone who is struggling with anxiety during the transition back to school. We want to help teachers get back to teaching and students get back to learning!

To learn more about how Anxiety Training can help your school community click here.

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