The start of the new school year is fast approaching.  Some school districts know what their instructional plan is going to be; others are still trying to put it together.  No matter where your school district is in this process, there is more than enough angst for parents and their children related to Covid-19 as it relates to school and how it will impact their families.  Added to that are the usual concerns of how their child will get along with his/her classmates.  Will their child be able to handle the subject matter?   Will a particular issue be handled in a positive way by the new teacher?  Children also have uneasiness as the new school year begins too.  They wonder what their teacher will be like.  Will their friends be with them this year?  Will the work be too hard?  There is more than enough concern for sure plus the Covid concerns, over the top this year!

Teachers and administrators are dealing with angst too as they approach the new school year with numerous Covid precautions and restrictions in place, and they come up with the best plan for their communities based upon how the virus is affecting their state/towns and cities.  They, too, are concerned about the well-being of their families.  These concerns amplify their usual concerns of meeting the needs of all their students.  Will they be able to balance family and school responsibilities?  Will they be able to successfully follow all of the Covid-19 safety protocols expected in school?

The decision for parents is enormous and very difficult for sure as they weigh the pros and cons of in-school, hybrid, virtual, or home schooling, with their particular family’s health issues and needs.  A pediatrician recently told all the parents of her patients who are struggling with making the best decision for their children that the decision they make is the right decision.  No decision is the wrong decision; all are imperfect.  How they choose to think about their decision makes the difference.  The future is uncertain so just do your best.  These are wise words for parents, school teachers, and administrators alike.   Here is the link to her video.

I’d like to offer a few suggestions for taking care of the uneasiness that may exist as the beginning of school approaches and throughout the school year as well:

*Have either a family meeting or private discussion regarding how your child feels about the start of school as he/she will be experiencing it.   Quiet any fears your child has by positively relating your reasons for the decisions you have made.  The degree to which you go into this is dependant upon the age and understanding of your child.  Give them only as much information as is appropriate.  How you feel about your decision will be conveyed to your child through your body language, tone, and actions, impacting how he/she moves forward. This same idea can be used by teachers in their classrooms as well as they explain the steps that the school is taking to keep them safe and healthy.

*Fears might be 

written down as a list or on separate pieces of paper, discussed, and then ripped up and tossed into the trash can, synbolically releasing their worries.  (The list can be your child’s concerns or the family’s concerns.)

written down or drawn and put in the Worry Eaters mouth, a plush toy with a zippered mouth, to be gobbled up, another symbolic release. (Haywire Group Worry Eaters)

*Releasing Breath, which I call Dragon Breath with younger children, helps to quiet uneasiness.

Breathe in deeply from the belly up.

Exhale, puffing the air out forcefully.  Feel the navel draw back to the spine to expel all of the stagnant air and toxins.  I tell younger children to imagine they are a dragon breathing out all their firey, worrisome feelings until they have all been released.

Continue repeating the process of inhaling and puffing out the exhalation until the air expelled becomes a soft whisper.  Notice how you feel.

Do whenever uneasiness is taking over.

*Finger walking a spiral is another way to quiet the body/mind.  You can use the spiral below, draw your own on a sheet of paper, or make the outline with your finger tip on a desktop, pant leg, bed spread, or any surface.  You can even draw it small in the air with the tip of your nose and spiral back out.  That’s a subtle way to do it if you are with others and don’t want the spiraling to be obvious.

Print the paper spiral.  Start at the opening (the mouth) and glide your finger between the twiggy lines of the spiral to the center.  Go slowly, focusing on your finger as it spirals to the center.

Pause at the center.  Leave your worries in the center and then spiral out again.  This process allows you to move forward in a more relaxed way.  (If you have preschoolers – 1st graders, you may e-mail me for a more appropriate spiral with a larger pathway for little hands.

When you come to the opening again, pause and notice how you feel.

Know that whatever plan your school district adopts for the coming school year, there are things that you can do to quiet your angst.  Be as positive as you can and pay attention to your body and how it’s feeling.  Make supportive communication and self-regulation a part of your wellness plan as the new school year starts and continues.  

Wishing you well ….


(More ideas can be found in my book Creating the Peaceable Classroom, A 21st Century Wellness Guide for Teachers, Students and Parents.)

FYI Spirals are archetypal symbols of growth and transformation. Thus, when finger walking the spiral, one is bringing their concerns, worries, fears into the center for transmutation so that they can spiral out into their world in a better, more relaxed way.

No Responses to “Starting the New School Year During Covid-19 …”

Leave a Reply