Child-clinical Psychologist shares tips to ease students back-to-school anxiety

Maryland

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — A recent national poll found that one in three teen girls and one in five teen boys have experienced new or worsening anxiety over the course of the pandemic.

Dr. Alfred Amado, CEO/Founder of Behavioral & Education Solutions, P.C. specializes in child-clinical psychology and has first-hand treated children who are having a difficult time transitioning to the new normal of learning during COVID.

“Information and knowledge, reduces anxiety,” said Dr. Amado. “The more information that you can give in an age appropriate way, and exposing the children to it, is going to relieve the anxiety…. prepare them for what’s to come.”

At Montgomery County Public Schools, capacity limits will be lifted, but face coverings are required. Clara Reesman is headed into middle school, and says wearing masks and not seeing peoples’ faces makes this transition difficult.

“It’s also hard to hear when people are talking through a mask, and it’s honestly a little bit harder to focus when people are wearing a mask,” said Reesman.

While the school year will be much more normal, some students such as 5th grader Gila Kay still say having computer screens in front of their faces in the classroom is a distraction. 

“All the kids in like half of my class would be sitting and most of them would be browsing, but I mean I don’t really blame them,” said Kay. “Because their computers right in front of them, and you’re teaching the class like what else would you expect.”

Dr. Amado provides three key steps that parents can take to gradually help their children adapt to the coming change:

  • Establish Regular Wake-Up Times – Parents need to gradually start adjusting their children’s sleep schedule to prepare them for the earlier start times of the school year.  Start with 15 minute incremental adjustments in both bedtime and when they wake up each day.
  • Structured Activity – Start mimicking the daily classroom routine by scheduling activities in 30-minute increments.  Include time for things like reading, working on math problems, writing/journaling, eating lunch at the same time each day and regular exercise time.  
  • Prepare Them For COVID Practices – Discuss the COVID specific policies and procedures, such as, appropriate masking, social distancing, hygiene requirements of your community and school, and comfort levels of your family.

For more information visit, Behavioral & Education Solutions, P.C. website.

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