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Mental Health

Helping Students Navigate the New Normal

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As 2022 begins and our schools attempt to mitigate the surging omicron variant of COVID-19, ongoing disruptions to the classroom environment have increased anxiety and uncertainty for many students. This is especially true for teens, many of whom struggle with consistency and fear of change - even without a pandemic to contend with.

While fear can sometimes hinder, it can also help keep people safe. Research continues to show that the influence of the home environment is the strongest single predictor of children's behavior. Even though times are challenging for parents, too, the key is for parents to be open and honest in the face of uncertainty and anxiety. It is a hugely important lesson for students who are facing major changes and challenges in a critical time in their development.

TALK TO YOUR STUDENTS

The Parent Teacher Student Association has a toolkit for Tackling COVID-19 Anxiety with advice that can be helpful in making your child feel better about the changes and differences around them. Related tips for managing in this later-stage pandemic include:

  • Welcome their questions -- Your student is undoubtedly wondering "What comes next?" Be open and let them know it's okay to not know exactly what will happen, and that it's okay to be unsure.
  • Don’t avoid questions you can’t answer -- While uncertainty makes many people anxious, it is important be honest about your own struggles. Seeing you wrestle with uncertainty will teach your child to keep going even when circumstances and the future are unclear.
  • Focus on what you’re doing to maintain their routine -- Reassurance goes a long way in uncertain times. While we're all tired of this pandemic, it's with your student about trends with COVID-19, the omicron variant, and how your local schools are addressing the challenge

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