As we enter our second week of at-home learning, we are incredibly grateful for the success we’ve had in implementing virtual classrooms and the support from our school community. Even though we are heartened by our incredible first week, we know our kids might still have some feelings of stress or anxiety. We reached out to Mrs. Repa, Ave Maria School Counselor, for tips on spotting stress and anxiety in our kids and a few extra tips for parents.

You might notice a change in sleeping habits. If your child seems abnormally tired, even though they’re logging the same number of “sleep” hours, understand they may not be getting the restful sleep their bodies are used to.

Expect behavior changes. Your child feels the anxiety and tension even if they are not fully aware of the reason.

Stick to a routine, if possible. The stability provided by the predictable will be helpful. Allow for flexibility in that routine.

Take your cues from your child. Encourage them to talk about what they have heard, seen, and how they feel about the coronavirus. Do your best to answer questions honestly, clearly and age appropriately. It’s okay if you can’t answer everything.

Offer the extra hugs, snuggles and kisses. Your child may be clingy and seeking the connection to you as their source of stability.

Here is one simple exercise you can do with your child(ren) – Things I Can Control. Talk with your child about what might be causing their stress or anxiety and help them to categorize those feelings. Then discuss what they can control and what they cannot. Focus on those things that can be controlled.

Remember, it’s ok and necessary to take time to focus on yourself too. Take a break. It’s important to carve out a few minutes for yourself each day. Be patient with yourself. We’re all learning how to function in this new normal. We will make mistakes along the way. Build a network of support. Reach out to family, friends, and teachers. It’s ok to ask for help. Having a connection to others helps ease stress and anxiety. 

If you have any questions or concerns about your child(ren) or are in need of additional support, don’t hesitate to reach out to our school counselor at counselor@avemariacatholicparish.org.