Local Clinical Director shares tips on how to handle back-to-school anxiety

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – Students, teachers and parents are facing many changes as they return to school amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Back-to-school is typically a time of excitement, it’s normal for kids to experience some degree of anxiety as a new school year approaches. But This year, COVID-19 may add to those stresses as children and parents worry about themselves or their loved ones becoming ill.

“The worry and the burden falls on everybody. It falls on the parents because the parents are going to be responsible that the kids understand what they are getting into. Making sure they know about the hand washing, social distancing and wearing masks,” said Life Strategies Clinical Director William Catus.

Research shows kids are more likely to have a tough time with the transition. According to Catus, the best way to approach a new school year during a pandemic is communication. 

“The parents and the teachers need to have some sort of interaction. I think as school progresses into the first week the parent should visit the school to help relieve some of their symptoms,” said Catus.  

Research shows that increased symptoms of anxiety may come from the worry of spreading germs or getting sick. Experts say it’s important for parents to offer reassurance. 

“With parents it’s to help their kids to understand that you have to keep your distance, wear mask and you have to wash your hands, if they continue to do that and emphasize that then I don’t think the problem will be as bad,” said Catus.

If you’re in the Beckley area, and your child is showing signs of back-to-school anxiety, you can contact Life Strategies to schedule an appointment to speak to an Licensed Professional Counselor.