5 Tips for Helping Your Anxious Child Master Another Covid School Year
Unprecedented. It’s a word we’ve been hearing for months now.
When schools shut down in the spring and our kids were forced to homeschool, it felt surreal. Many of us assumed that by fall, Covid-19 would have all but disappeared, and life would return to normal.
With Labor Day in the rear-view mirror and a new school year underway, unprecedented is still a word that applies.
Whether your child went back to school in person this week, in a hybrid fashion or remotely, challenges continue to persist. And kids are feeling more anxious than ever.
Symptoms of Child Anxiety
Recently, I’ve seen more kids in my online therapy practice in Illinois than ever for specific fears and phobias. In the midst of a pandemic, it stands to reason that a lot of kids are going to be afraid of germs, vomiting and getting Covid.
But it’s the obsessive thoughts and the compulsive acts they perform to keep themselves safe that are especially distressing. Your child is on edge and anxious, needing constant reassurance from you that they’re going to be okay. You’re exhausted from watching your child wash their hands for the hundredth time and the tears that go with it.
Other days, your anxious child may complain of stomach aches or cry over having to participate in Zoom sessions for school. They have a hard time focusing and understanding the lesson. They wonder if they’re falling behind and melt down due to the stress.
5 Tips for Helping Your Anxious Child with Covid
As a parent, you’re exhausted. And to be honest, your patience is wearing thin. At this point, you’re willing to give anything a try to get some relief. Here are some things you can try with your child.
Talk to your child about what to expect.
Kids thrive on structure and routine. If your child is feeling anxious about the school year, be sure to talk it out ahead of time. Share what you know in a clear and concise way so your child feels like they have a handle on what might or might not happen. Having some idea of what to expect gives kids a sense of control over the situation.
Encourage social interactions and contact in whatever way is safe and advisable.
At this point, our kids are really starving for social connection after being limited for many months. Pay close attention to how your child is feeling emotionally. Try to incorporate emotional check-ins into your daily schedule to gauge how they’re feeling in general. Check-ins can be formal and structured or informal and on the run. The important thing is to help your child identify, reflect on and share their emotions.
Plan a family activity in the future so your child has something to look forward to.
As the days get shorter and the weather changes, it can be tempting to stay home more. Don’t! For kids who are homeschooling, the days can often feel endless. Plan something fun that gets your whole family involved. A future event gives your child the understanding that we will come out of this pandemic…it’s not permanent.
Get your anxious child moving!
Physical exercise is so important. Endorphins are good for the brain so go for a family run, throw a ball around, walk the dog, rollerblade, jump on the trampoline and get some of that nervous energy out. You can also turn a slow walk into a practice in relaxation by asking your child to connect to their five senses. Have them simply count five things they can see, four things they can hear, three things they can touch, and two things they can smell. It’s an exercise in moving and noticing.
Continually remind your child of their strengths, resilience and resources.
When you see your child doing things successfully, acknowledge it, no matter how small. Praise them and be specific. “Great job practicing with your multiplication flashcards without me having to ask you. Way to go!” You want to help grow your child’s confidence so they understand they can tackle whatever challenges come their way. Helping your child see that they can do hard things is critical in instilling resilience and confidence. They’re reminded that they have what it takes and that they can get through this difficult time.
Solution-Focused Brief Therapy Can Help with Child Anxiety
Sometimes even after you do all the “right” things, your child still needs more help. Professional intervention is often needed, especially with irrational fears and/or obsessive compulsions. There is no shame in seeking online anxiety treatment for kids.
I’ve helped many kids with anxiety feel and function better in their lives. In just a handful of sessions using Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), I help kids develop the skills and confidence they need to reduce the anxiety in their lives. It’s not only a highly effective counseling process but it also enables kids to create change in the shortest possible time.
What’s Holding You Back from Beginning Online Anxiety Counseling for Kids?
Perhaps you view online counseling as different from in person counseling? I understand.
Online counseling, however, delivers equal benefits to in-office counseling and also provides advantages for kids:
- Video chatting imitates the way kids are most comfortable communicating with friends.
- They may feel “safer” than visiting an office and talking to an adult in person.
- Kids can relax in a familiar environment and surround themselves with pets and favorite toys.
- Online counseling makes therapy more accessible to kids with severe anxiety.
- Online sessions are easier for parents to manage because no commute is required.
Researchers have also studied how kids respond to computer-based therapy and found that it can be helpful for both depression and anxiety.
Begin Online Counseling for Kids with Anxiety in Illinois
Don’t allow your child to feel overwhelmed by anxiety one more day. Counseling can help your child reduce their anxiety as well as increase their confidence and self-regulation skills. As an experienced and caring therapist, I love providing online anxiety treatment to kids. To start your child’s counseling journey, follow these simple steps:
- Click on the Schedule an Appointment button
- Select a day and time in my online calendar
- Watch your child gain confidence and become happier
Other Counseling Services at Briefly Counseling
Anxiety counseling for kids isn’t the only service I offer in my Chicago and Illinois online counseling practice. Other mental health services provided by Briefly Counseling includes teen therapy and Christian counseling.
Helena Madsen, MA, LCPC is the founder of Briefly Counseling. I specialize in providing online short-term anxiety treatment for kids and teens ages 7 – 19.
I provide all services via online therapy in Illinois. Whether you’re in Naperville, Chicago, Champaign, Rockford, Libertyville, or Crystal Lake, I can help you. Schedule your appointment or consultation today. I look forward to working with your child to quickly and effectively help them in activating their strengths, resources, and resilience, in order to live with confidence and hope.
Visit my website at www.BrieflyCounseling.com for more information or call 224-236-2296 to connect with me personally.