Back to School Advice for Parents

Back to School Advice for Parents

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - A new school year is scary for most kids anyway but mix that in with a pandemic and a lot of rules that keep kids behind masks and 6 feet apart from their friends, and school becomes an entirely new experience.

So how do you send your kids off to school with the least amount of anxiety? Dr. Sarah Wakefield, Chair of Psychiatry at the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, says this is a brand new ball game for all of us... but we can help our kids make the best of it. She says, “Especially with anxiety, it’s really important for parents to understand your children feel as safe as you make them feel. So it’s ok to have questions about some things and it’s ok to tell them that you’re not quite sure how things are going to go.”

Dr. Wakefield says it’s the parents who paint a picture of this school year and what it will look like for their kids. She explains, “If they see that you can be calm with that information and that you are looking for additional sources for information, then they’ll feel calmer. But If they hear that every time I don’t have every answer to my question, that I’m very anxious, I can’t sleep, I don’t know how to cope with those feelings, then that is a modeling for them.”

She says uncertain times breed anxiety but the good news is that at least in this case, everybody wants the same thing, for our children to do well. So for the kids going back into the classroom, how do parents send them off on that first day? She suggests, “What I try to encourage parents is to say, ‘listen to your teacher, follow the rules, be kind’ and those are the things that apply all of the time.”

Dr. Wakefield says you can never talk to your kids ...enough... even about the same things over and over again because she says each time, they’ll hear a little bit more.

The full interview is attached.

KCBD Interview - Dr. Sarah Wakefield, Chair of Psychiatry at the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center

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