Tips to help parents deal with stress and anxiety as kids return to school

UT Health San Antonio psychiatrist says it’s important to recognize emotions and look for options to handle stress

Experts offer advice for parents suffering from stress, anxiety amid surging COVID-19 cases
Experts offer advice for parents suffering from stress, anxiety amid surging COVID-19 cases

SAN ANTONIO – As students head back into the classroom, some parents are battling stress and anxiety.

Dr. Barbara Robles-Ramamurthy, a child and adult psychiatrist at UT Health San Antonio, said it’s important to recognize that stress and worry are a normal part of who we are as human beings and we have the ability to get through difficult situations.

“They’re part of our biological responses to life and uncertainty, which we are living in right now with the pandemic and this surge of increases in cases to the Delta variant and other variants. And our kids going back to school absolutely is going to bring out a lot of stress and worries,” Dr. Robles-Ramamurthy said.

Robles-Ramamurthy said after recognizing the feelings are there, parents should look at the options for handling the stress that they are feeling.

“So first, recognition that the anxiety is there, that the worries are there, that the stress is building up. Then comes the awareness of how is it impacting us as human beings? How does it impact the way we think about things, the way we respond to things, the way we communicate with our children, the way we communicate as partners at home. Are we seeking support? What are our resources that we have available as a family, whether it’s other family members, leaders in our communities,” Robles-Ramamurthy said.

As parents work through this transition, Robles-Ramamurthy said learning to deal with uncertainty and being flexible can help families.

“Because we don’t know how this is going to play out, we can tell our kids this is the plan for now. If things change, we will talk about it again and we will come up with a new plan,” Robles-Ramamurthy said.

Clarissa Zamora, a social emotional counselor at Jubilee Westwood, said it’s important to communicate not only with your kids, but with school staff about all the different changes.

“Get to know and talk to your school administrators, get to know what are the policies and procedures when my kids come back,” Zamora said.

Zamora said it’s also important to remember that kids feel and watch everything parents do.

“Validating why I’m sad, you know, that’s important. But for them to constantly hear it is not good,” Zamora said.

While there are many changes happening around, Zamora reminds parents to celebrate the little moments of life with your child.

“We have to remember what it was before the pandemic and coming back alive and celebrating Those everyday meaningful things,” Zamora said.

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