Kids feeling stress and anxiety heading back-to-school

KNWA

"Under the circumstances that we're in now, teachers are under additional stress that they're having to deal with too," King said.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — We’re two weeks away from the start of school and the governor is showing no signs of pushing the date back for students returning to classes.

It’s not just teachers and parents feeling the stress brought on by this pandemic, it’s kids too, and it may be even more than we realize.

I think it’s so important for adults and parents to be a light and shine for them.

JENNIFER TSCHEPIKOW, MOTHER OF TWO 

Jennifer Tschepikow is a local mother-of-two.

She recently shared this post on social media — a conversation she had with her 6-year-old son, asking her when the coronavirus is going to end.

COURTESY OF JENNIFER TSCHEPIKOW

“I just told him I didn’t know but we just have to do our best at washing our hands and keeping our masks on,” Tschepikow said. “He basically just told me that he’s tired of it and I totally get it. I think we all are.”

It was a simple heart-to-heart, but it showed a glimpse of what many children are feeling about this pandemic.

“The unknown, that is scary,” she said. “We’re all going through all of this together and it’s all new and it’s stressful.”

University of Arkansas Childhood Education Instructor, Bonnie King, said kids are experiencing the same high level of stress people around them are, as we head into a school year of uncertainty.

“They see us grappling with these tough decisions,” she said. “They hear us having conversations.”

King said it’s a domino effect, that is happening in homes and eventually will happen in the classrooms.

“It’s just this compounding stress that we’re going to have to deal with or it’s going to impact student learning,” she said. “Any way we can alleviate stress for teachers would be beneficial to their students.”

I truly believe teachers are very capable of handling stress if given the tools.

BONNIE KING, CHILDHOOD EDUCATION INSTRUCTOR, UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS

With open conversations, King said we can all help each other try and manage the back to school anxiety.

COURTESY OF JENNIFER TSCHEPIKOW

“Just acknowledge that we are all feeling the stress, and there are things we can do about it,” she said. “It’s very empowering.”

King said some ways you can help reduce stress is:

  • taking care of yourself
  • checking in on how you’re feeling
  • implementing normal routines into your schedule
  • limiting social media
  • getting outside
  • talking with people around you

King said social media also plays a big role in the stress everyone is feeling.

She wanted to share a video by the UARK Dean of the College of Education and Health Professions presenting his research on the impact of social media on depression and anxiety rates.

We’re all in this together, and everything is going to be okay. Just try to keep the ugly out and the good and positive in.

JENNIFER TSCHEPIKOW, MOTHER OF TWO 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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