How to ease your child’s back-to-school separation anxiety

Parenting

Researchers believe that combining the roles of the parent and the teacher could contribute to some young children having more separation protests this year compared to others.

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Five easy ways to help your child ease back into in-person school

Researchers are predicting there will be more separation anxiety as children head back to the classroom this school year. A huge reason: the pandemic. For the last year and a half, kids have spent almost all their time at home with their households. 

With both the children and the parents feeling the added pressure during this back-to-school season, researchers are suggesting ways to alleviate some anxiety. The key is creating routines and staying firm during the moments of separation. Above all, researchers suggest checking your parental anxiety and understanding how that can impact your child. 

Separation anxiety during a pandemic

While many children experience some level of separation anxiety when returning to school, researchers say they expect to see more “separation protests” than usual.  Experts say that children could have “separation protests” like whining, tantrums or clinginess. While expected of younger children, even older children can experience some number of separation protests. 

Parents are also likely to feel some separation anxiety, which could exacerbate the feelings in their children. 

How to ease back-to-school separation anxiety

Although checking on your child may seem like a good option, there are also other ways to make the transition easier for everyone. 

Give your child some control 

Students don’t get to control when they go back to school, but giving a student some degree of choice will help them feel like they are in charge of the situation. 

Even if your child doesn’t need one, allowing them to pick out a new backpack is an excellent way to give students ownership when starting school. A fun option is the ZipIt Grillz Backpack. These backpacks feature fun and sassy zipper faces, while still being extremely functional. With tons of pockets and plenty of unique style, your kid will be eager to show off their new backpack. 

ZIPIT Grillz Backpack for Kids

Along with a new backpack, choosing a new lunch box is a great way for your kid to express some personality. The Amersun Kids Lunch Box is a great option, and it comes in an array of styles and colors. The exterior is water-resistant and dirt-proof, so it’ll withstand even the toughest lunchtime kids. It’s insulated to keep your child’s favorite food the correct temperature all day, and the storage can hold extra snacks and surprises.

Amersun Kids Lunch Box

Make it safe

A fear for many parents is the safety of their kids with the pandemic ongoing and variants still on the rise. But there are a number of ways to prepare to help you and your child feel safe.

Stock up on some pandemic basics, like disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer. One way to do this is by creating a disinfecting station, complete with wipes, sanitizing spray and hand sanitizer so you can quickly and efficiently wipe down your child’s backpack, lunchbox and school supplies. 

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes PURELL Advanced Hand Sanitizer Variety Pack

It’s also a good idea to stock up on some cloth masks for your child. Choose one that is properly fitted to their face and one they’re excited about. This will help encourage them to keep their mask on, which will keep them safe.

ABG Accessories Reusable Fabric Face Mask

Help them decompress

No matter how old your kids are, they will need to decompress. Some researchers suggest having your children draw out their anxieties before returning to school using art therapy as a way to help your children process the many changes this year.

Make sure you stock up on a new set of crayons and construction paper.

Tru-Ray Assorted Primary Colors Construction Paper

For younger kids, a basic set of crayons will suffice, while older kids might like a larger deluxe set of crayons with more options.

Stockmar Waterproof Beeswax Blocks in Tin Crayola Ultimate Crayon Collection Coloring Set

Teens also can benefit from artistic expression, and quality colored pencils and a sketch pad will allow them to bring out their inner artist. 

Castle Art Supplies 72 Premium Colored Coloring Pencils Set

Be prepared

Another way to relieve the back-to-school jitters is to be as prepared as possible. Make sure you double-check with your child’s school and teachers to be sure you know what your child will need to be successful. 

First, stock up on plenty of softcover notebooks. You’ll also want to stock up on plenty of pencils and pens.

BIC Xtra-Smooth Mechanical Pencil Paper Mate InkJoy Retractable Ballpoint Pens

To avoid losing pens too fast, get a durable pencil case to keep writing instruments contained.  

Aiphamy Canvas Pencil Bag

Remind them of home

One of the best things you can do to ease separation anxiety is to give your child a little reminder of home. Notes in their lunch box are great, as are things like a picture in their binder or a keychain. 

There are tons of options for personalized keychains available online. You can have a keychain printed with a picture of you and your child or their favorite pet. Another option is to have a keychain engraved with a handwritten message for a more subtle approach.

Handwritten Message Key Chain

For younger kids who might change their minds frequently, pick up a few interchangeable photo keychains that let you switch out the picture. They’ll love customizing their keychain, and it’ll help them take that step back into the classroom.

Acrylic Snapins Photo Keychain

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Kasey Van Dyke writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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