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Steeple Newsletter

Back to School, Back to Hope

It's time for back-to-school!  It is usually a time of many emotions! Excitement about shopping for supplies seeing friends learning with others. But also the normal bouts of uncertainty leaving home and loved ones new teachers new peers and schoolwork. I am sharing excerpts from a great article in Children's Health Magazine I think will be helpful!

by Judi Wallace on September 09, 2020

It's time for back-to-school!  It is usually a time of many emotions! Excitement about shopping for supplies seeing friends learning with others. But also the normal bouts of uncertainty leaving home and loved ones new teachers new peers and schoolwork. I am sharing excerpts from a great article in Children's Health Magazine I think will be helpful!

This year COVID-19 may add to the uncertainty as children worry about themselves or their loved ones becoming ill. In addition many normal routines will change as schools take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The uncertainty of the situation and changes in routine can cause many students – and parents – to feel stressed and anxious.

"With the current pandemic, there's a lot we don't know, and that can be anxiety-provoking for all of us – especially for children who thrive on structure and routine," says Nicholas J. Westers Psy.D. ABPP a clinical psychologist at Children's Health℠ and Associate Professor at UT Southwestern. "Being able to cope with that uncertainty and recognize that it's okay to feel that way is an important part of supporting mental health during this time."

Dr. Westers recommends trying some of these techniques to help your child cope with back-to-school anxiety and stress during COVID-19:

"Check in with your child frequently and listen to their concerns. Make sure to validate their emotions letting them know that their concerns and frustrations are understandable.

Help your child focus on what they can control in the fight against the pandemic such as hand washing,wearing a face mask, and practicing social distancing.

Ensure your child is getting enough sleep being physically active and eating healthy food to support a healthy body and mind.

Encourage your child to do more of what they enjoy most whether reading playing outside or other activities. While plans may continue to change explain to your child what you do know about what the school year or classroom will look like to help them mentally prepare.

If your child is going to participate in virtual or remote learning take steps to set them up for success academically physically and emotionally.

Whether your child will be returning to school in person or virtually it is important to ease them back into a structured daily routine and sleep schedule.

Help your child adjust to COVID-19 precautions such as wearing a face mask by practicing at home. It is okay to empathize with your child if they find wearing a mask uncomfortable. Let them know that although it can be unpleasant at times wearing a mask is an important way we can help protect others.

For older children remind them that they are helping protect others and doing good for their community by following health precautions.

Set up ways for your child to continue to socialize safely with their friends over the phone or video chat especially if they participate in distance learning.

Teach your child breathing exercises they can do when they feel anxious.

Send positive or encouraging notes in your child's lunch or backpack."

And know that your First Church Community is holding students parents teachers bus drivers and all school workers in prayer as we begin what will be a new way to be at school a new way to learn and a new way to socialize!

I invite families with children to join us this Sunday at 4:00 pm on the First Church Lawn as we Pray in Color with chalk on the sidewalk or with paper and crayons. This is a wonderful way to share prayer with our children in a way that they can use and take with them wherever they are. Face coverings are mandatory and physical distancing will be practiced!

Praying for calm and joy in the back-to-school days ahead, 

Judi Wallace

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